Former African champions drawn in same Confed Cup group
Three former continental champions were placed in the same group in the African Confederation Cup, when the draw for this year's group stage was conducted in Cairo on Saturday.
ASEC Abidjan from Ivory Coast, AS Vita Club from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Morocco's Raja Casablanca will play each other in Group A - three teams who have all tasted past success in continental club competition.
They will ensure a tough tussle in the group phase of African football's secondary club competition.
AS Vita Club were designated top seeds in the group by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) but it is a status that both ASEC and Raja will quickly set about disputing.
Another former continental champion, Enyimba of Nigeria, who won the Champions League back-to-back in 2003 and 2004, play in Group C where they are top seeds against CARA Brazzaville of Congo, Mali's Djoliba and the Ivorians rookies AC Williamsville - a club created in 1995 and who recently named Didier Drogba to their board.
Djoliba, runners-up six years ago, are the only one of this year's 16 group phase participants, who have contested a previous Confederation Cup final.
USM Alger probably have the broadest smiles after the draw conducted by Caf general secretary Amr Fahmy and his deputy Tony Baffoe at the Caf headquarters on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital.
USMA were paired with three east African clubs in Group D - newcomers Rayon Sport from Rwanda, the regional giants Gor Mahia of Kenya and Young Africans of Tanzania.
The clash between the fabled Kenyan club and their Tanzania rivals will be much anticipated in the region.
Group B's top seeds are Al Hilal of Sudan, paired with two fellow Arab clubs in Renaissance Berkane (Morocco) and Al Masry (Egypt) and the rookies UCD Songo from Mozambique.
The group phase kicks off on Sunday 6 May and there will be a second round of group matches on Wednesday 16 May before a hiatus for the World Cup.
The last four rounds of group games are set for July and August after which the top two teams in each group advance to the quarter-finals in September.
African Confederation Cup draw:
Group A: ASEC Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Raja Casablanca (Morocco), AS Vita Club (DR Congo), Aduana Stars (Ghana)
Group B: Renaissance Berkane (Morocco), Al Masry (Egypt), UCD Songo (Mozambique), Al Hilal (Sudan)
Group C: Enyimba (Nigeria), AC Williamsville (Ivory Coast), CARA Brazzaville (Congo), Djoliba (Mali)
Group D: Rayon Sport (Rwanda), USM Alger (Algeria), Young Africans (Tanzania), Gor Mahia (Kenya)