05 May 2015 12:21
History has been created with the drawing of three Algerian clubs in the same group for the mini-league stage of the 2015 Orange CAF Champions League.
Holders ES Setif and fellows USM Alger and MC Eulma were drawn together in Group B with Sudanese side, El Merreikh completing the quartet.
It is the first time three clubs from same country have reached the mini-league stage of a major continental club championship and the historic feat witnessed yet another new chapter with the three teams being housed in the same group.
In recent past, we have witnessed the likes of DR Congo duo, TP Mazembe and AS Vita in the same group of the CAF Champions League just as Egyptian rivals, Ahly and Zamalek.
Algeria will be the centre of attraction in the next few months with the presence of the three clubs.
Unlike Setif and USM Alger, MC Eulma are at this stage for the first time and look set to continue their fairytale story amongst the big guns of African football.
USM Alger, nicknamed the ‘Reds and Black’ are making a return to the group phase for the first time since 2004, where they finished third in a group which had the likes of Esperance (Tunisia), Jeanne d’Arc (Senegal) and SuperSport United (South Africa).
They were however one of the teams that experienced the mini-league stage for the first time in 1997. There were in the same group with eventual winners, Raja Athletic Club (Morocco), Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) and Orlando Pirates (South Africa).
MC Eulma have walked a tough journey till this far ousting renowned clubs such as Siant George (Ethiopia), Asante Kotoko (Ghana) and CS Sfaxien (Tunisia).
Sudanese side, Merreikh are also making a return to the stage for the first time since 2009. After several unsuccessful attempts, the ‘Al-Zaiem’ found their luck this time at the expense of two-time winners, Esperance of Tunisia.
Four-time winners, TP Mazembe are favourites in Group A where they are joined by regular campaigners, El Hilal of Sudan. Debutants Moghreb Tetouane of Morocco and Egyptian side, Smouha complete the pairing in the group.
Group phase of 2015 Orange CAF Champions League
Moghreb Tetouan (Morocco)
TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
El Hilal (Sudan)
ES Setif (Algeria)
USM Alger (Algeria)
El Merreikh (Sudan)
MC Eulma (Algeria)