JOHANNESBURG, South
Africa
– The CAF Champions League quarter-finals draw made in Cairo on
Wednesday offered local club Al Ahly a chance to avenge one of the most
humiliating defeats in their 113-year history.

Ahly were trounced 5-1 on aggregate by Mamelodi Sundowns of
South Africa in the quarter-finals last year, and the clubs will meet at the
same stage this season.

The 5-0 first-leg loss was the heaviest suffered by the
Cairo Red Devils in an international competition and the biggest since a 6-0
defeat by Zamalek in the 1942 Egyptian Cup final.

“They performed like amateurs,” said pundit and
former Ahly star Wael Gomaa at the time. “The team showed no personality‚
no spirit‚ no leadership. It was an utter shambles.”

One difference this season is that Ahly will enjoy home
advantage first, on February 28 or 29 in Cairo, with the return match in
Pretoria the following weekend.

Another change is that Uruguayan Martin Lasarte no longer
coaches Ahly with Swiss Rene Weiler now in charge of the club that have been
African champions a record eight times.

Former South Africa forward and coach Pitso Mosimane has
steered Sundowns since 2012 and led them to their lone Champions League title
four years ago.

Ahly and Sundowns have reached the knockout stage with
identical records of seven victories, two draws and one loss from qualifying
and group matches.

The Egyptians fell away to Etoile Sahel of Tunisia in the
group stage while the South Africans went down in their first qualifier,
against AS Otoho in Congo Brazzaville.

Esperance of Tunisia and Zamalek of Egypt meet in Qatar on
February 14 for the CAF Super Cup, an annual match between the Champions League
and Confederation Cup trophy-holders.

Then, just two weeks later, the Blood and Gold and White
Knights clash again, this time in the first leg of a Champions League
quarter-final in Cairo.

Esperance are seeking a third straight title — a feat not
even the great 2005-2008 Ahly team of Essam el Hadary, Gomaa, Mohamed
Aboutrika, Mohamed Barakat and Emad Moteab could achieve.

Moroccan city Casablanca provide two contenders with Raja facing
TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Wydad meeting Etoile Sahel.

All eight survivors have won the competition, led by Ahly
with eight successes, including two back-to-back triumphs.

Draws

Quarter-finals

Al Ahly (EGY) v Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)

Raja Casablanca (MAR) v TP Mazembe (COD)

Zamalek (EGY) v Esperance (TUN, holders)

Wydad Casablanca (MAR) v Etoile Sahel (TUN)

First legs: Feb
28/29, second: Mar 6/7

Semi-finals

Raja/Mazembe v Zamalek/Esperance

Wydad/Etoile v Ahly/Sundowns

First legs: May
1/2, second: May 8/9

Note: final will be played on May 29 at a neutral venue to
be announced

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