Mamelodi Sundowns and USM Alger are the first hurdles in Wydad Casablanca’s quest to go one better this season. Petro Luanda are unburdened by expectations and could use this as the recipe to cause major upsets.
Favourites – Wydad Casablanca
Wydad have spearheaded Morocco’s rise in the African club football scene. It is a shame that they will forever be tied to the fiasco that was last season’s final. Nobody can be sure just how much that has affected the team’s psyche in the quest to win it this time. What is sure is that the club is working to transition from the squad that accomplished the heights of 2017 CAF Champions League success. In fact, Wydad’s attack is now led by one Ayoub El-Kaabi (a familiar name for African football fans).
Contenders – Mamelodi Sundowns
Yes, they have flair but do they have steel? This is the question that is always asked of Sundowns. They can beat Al Ahy 5-0, oh we enjoyed that!
But have always seemed to come second to the frustrations posed by Wydad Casablanca, oh we love that newly-found rivalry. Having to also overcome USM Alger in Group C will show how much Pitso has learned about outwitting fellow best clubs on the continent at their own game. Sundowns have one of the deepest squads in the competition and therefore means to answer different kinds of questions posed on the field of play.
Contenders – USM Alger
Usually, USM Alger would be highly regarded going into a CAF Champions League group phase. But this season they are troubled by financial problems (yes!).
The team has shown great spirit to stay afloat on all fronts this far into the season. All the same, the house has to be put in order ahead of long flights to Southern Africa and a heated contests against a Maghreb rival.
Outsiders – Petro Luanda
Petro Luanda face a steep learning curve from their CAF Confederation Cup group stage experience last season. They will be facing three clubs that have been to the Champions League final in the last four years. Typically, a team can use its status as outsiders to play with less pressure and overachieve. Not to mention, Petro Luanda are your typical strong Angolan side that goes under the radar.
Do you fancy Petro Luanda’s chances?