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SportSt. George, Defense to play in CAF competitions

St. George, Defense to play in CAF competitions

After the end of the first round Ethiopian Premier League, clubs have turned to CAF Champions League and CAF confederation matches. St. George is to play Seychelles champions Cote d’Or while in the CAF Champions League Defense is to play against Yong Sports Academy of Cameroon.

Eighteen Horsemen players travelled early Thursday for the first away game. The game will be on February 11, 2017 at Amitie stadium. The champions are expected to defeat the Seychelles side.

For the 13-time EPL champions, it is the second straight playoff tie against the champions of Seychelles’ Premiere Division. Last season, they drew with the then defending champions Saint Michel and ended up winning 4-1 on aggregate.

They will be hoping to go further than the first round, where their continental journey ended a year ago at the hands of the African champions, TP Mazembe of DR Congo. St. George played to a cracking 2-2 draw in the first leg of that tie before losing 1-0 away from home.

The return match will be held from 17th to 19th February 2017 at Hawassa Stadium. 

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) congregated in Cairo to hold the draw that determines the pairings for the 46 teams that will take part in the preliminary round.

Cote d’Or will be making a return to CAF competition after two years. Their last such foray was at the 2015 CAF Confederations Cup, where they were eliminated in the preliminary round after losing 5-2 on aggregate to Dedebit. It will be their first appearance in the Champions League since 2014.

St. George’s away tie at the Stade d’Amitié will be the fourth trip an Ethiopian football side has made to the country in the last two years. Besides their game against Saint Michel last season and Dedebit’s tie with Cote d’Or in 2015, the Ethiopian National Team under Coach Yohannes Sahle were grouped with Seychelles in the 2017 AFCON. Ethiopia drew with Seychelles 1-1 in September of 2015.

Forty teams who were national cup tournament finalists last season across Africa will take part in the preliminary round of the 2017 CAF Confederations Cup.

Defense will host its 4th time CAF confederation match against Yong Sports Academy at Addis Ababa Stadium. Ethiopia’s Defense lost in a shootout to Champions League bound St. George in the final of last season’s Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) Cup and will suit up to take on last season’s Cameroon Elite One runners up, Yong Sports Academy.

The result which registered by both Defense and the champions St. George will prove instrumental in increasing the number Ethiopian clubs taking part in CAF competitions.

“We are fully prepared to win the match and we don’t want to squander our chance like the previous games.” Defense FC technical director Wasihun Mamo told the Reporter.

Defense full back Menilu Wendemu and forward Baye Gezagn will not line up for their clubs due to injury.

Meanwhile, the return match will be held on 18 February 2017 at Stade de la Reunification, Douala..

In last year’s competition, the military side were pummeled 6-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round by Egyptian side Misr Lel Makkasa. They were first round losers in the 2014 edition of the competition as well when they lost 4-1 on aggregate to Kenyan side AFC Leopards.

The 2017 CAF Champions League (officially the 2017 Total CAF Champions League for sponsorship reasons) will be the 53rd edition of Africa’s premier league club football tournament organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and the 21st edition under the current CAF Champions League format.

Starting from this season, the group stage will be expanded from eight to 16 teams, divided into four groups of four. The winners of the 2017 CAF Champions League will qualify as the CAF representative at the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, and also earn the right to play against the winners of the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup in the 2018 CAF super Cup. Mamelodi Sundowns are the defending champions.

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