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TP Mazembe players in a past match. PHOTO/TP Mazembe
  • TP Mazembe were dumped out of the Champions League by Uganda’s Vipers
  • They have been drawn with South Africa’s Royal AM in the play-off round
  • They fired their head coach after Vipers defeat

Congolese giants TP Mazembe will be seeking for redemption in the CAF Confederation Cup after being shocked out of the Champions League by Ugandan side Vipers.

Mazembe, five-time winners of the Champions League were beaten on penalties and relegated to the second tier Confed Cup. They reacted to the loss by firing their head coach Franck Dumas with former player Pamphile Mihayo being put in charge a third time.

Mihayo aims to win the Confederation Cup a third time after successes in 2016 and 2017 before Moroccan clubs became dominant, winning four finals and finishing runners-up in the other.

Paired with South African debutants

The Congolese giants have been paired with South African debutants Royal AM in the play-off round and they will look to pick a victory against the side to book a place in the group stages. Royal were just recently promoted to the South African PSL.

They progressed to the play-off round on the away goal rule after a 1-1 draw with Zesco United in Zambia and will look to trouble another giant in Mazembe.

But, the Lubumbashi side have their work cut out and with a demanding fan base and owner, they have no choice but to earn a place in the group stages.

Meanwhile, defending champions RS Berkane face a tricky North African derby in the play-off round of this year’s tournament after being paired with Tunisian side US Monastir in the draw held in Cairo.

Monastir have dropped to the Confederation Cup from the Champions League after losing 4-0 on aggregate to record champions Al Ahly.

Survived by the skin of their teeth

Berkane meanwhile survived by the skin of their teeth after overturning a 3-1 deficit from the first leg against Nigeria’s Kwara United. They won 2-0 at home for a 3-3 aggregate score, to progress on the away goal rule.

The Moroccan side won the title last year with Congolese coach Florent Ibenge, who however left after a season and is currently with Sudanese side Al Hilal, who he has led to the group stages of the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Rivers United and Plateau United who both dropped from the Champions League have been drawn against Libyan opposition.

Rivers play Al Nasr and Plateau come up against Al Akhdar in the first legs on November 2, with the return matches seven days later.

Rivers exited the Champions League after being thrashed 6-0 by defending champions Wydad Athletic in the return tie, while Plateau were unfortunate to lose on the away goal rule, after suffering a 1-0 defeat against Esperance in Tunisia. They had won the first leg 2-1.

Tanzanian giants Yanga who also dropped from the Champions League have meanwhile been paired against Tunisia’s Club Africain, in what is expected to be a tough duel for Wanajangwani.

Full play-off round draw

Rail Kadiogo (BFA) or V Club (COD) v St Eloi Lupopo (COD)

Royal Leopard (ESW) v Real Bamako (MLI)

TP Mazembe (COD) v Royal AM (RSA)

Primeiro Agosto (ANG) v Future (EGY)

ASEC Mimosas (CIV) v SC Gagnoa (CIV)

Djoliba (MLI) v FAR Rabat (MAR)

Al Ahly Tripoli (LBA) v Marumo Gallants (RSA)

ASKO Kara (TOG) v CS Sfaxien (TUN)

Young Africans (TAN) v Club Africain (TUN)

Flambeau Centre (BDI) v DC Motema Pembe (COD)

Rivers Utd (NGR) v Al Nasr (LBA)

US Monastir (TUN) v Renaissance Berkane (MAR, holders)

Cape Town City (RSA) v USM Alger (ALG)

Nigelec (NIG) v Pyramids (EGY)

La Passe (SEY) v Diables Noirs (CGO)

Plateau Utd (NGR) v Al Akhdar (LBA)

First legs: Nov 2, second legs: Nov 9

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