Kaizer Chiefs were part of the draw for the group stages of the 2020-21 CAF Champions League Group Stages conducted in Cairo on Friday afternoon.
The final remaining 16 teams in the tournament were drawn into four groups of four with the draw seeing Chiefs avoid defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt. Amakhosi who were unseeded for the draw landed up in Group C, where they will face Angolan side Petro Atletico as well as Guinean outfit Horoya and Moroccan team Wydad Casablanca.
Chiefs midfielder Khama Billiat was a Champions League winner in 2016 with Sundowns. The draw is a case of Déjà vu for him because prior to joining Chiefs in 2018, he was in the Sundowns team that faced both Wydad and Horoya in the group stage. He scored against Horoya and winning a penalty in a 2-2 away draw for Sundowns on 22 May 2018.
The Zimbabwean attacker also played in a 1-1 home draw against Wydad on the 5 May 2018. He believes that Chiefs should not be overly concerned by the teams that they will be facing in the group stages and they should be optimistic about their chances of progression.
Billiat analysed Chiefs’ opponents from Ghana as follows: “Travelling to Guinea won’t be easy but it takes a lot of determination and sacrifice to travel and win on the road in other parts of the continent. Horoya run a lot, are very physical and hardworking as a team. They have been in the group stages in three of the last four seasons. We respect that, but they also have weaknesses which can be to our advantage.”
Chiefs will be facing Guinean opponents for the first time in a CAF competition. However, Wydad will be the second Moroccan team that Amakhosi will meet after facing Raja Casablanca in the 2015 CAF Champions League first round which ended in a 3-0 aggregate loss for Chiefs.
“Wydad are strong and have been very dominant in recent years,” says Billiat. “While it won’t be easy, is it possible for us to beat them. We can surprise ourselves as to how far we can go. With the right mindset, awareness and tactical readiness, we can do well. We need to win our home games and get points on the road and then progress in the competition.”
Chiefs who just faced Angolan opponents in the form of Primeiro De Agosto in the first round will be facing their rivals Petro Atletico in the group stages. Amakhosi will be hoping to continue with their impressive form against Angolan clubs in African club competition. The Glamour Boys have faced teams from their Southern African country four times in intercontinental match ups and are unbeaten (W2 D2).
Another Chiefs player with experience in CAF Club competitions is Lazalous Kambole. He has faced Wydad in the past when he was with Zambian club Zesco United in the 2016 Group Stages. “This is a fair but tough group,” comments Kambole. “All the teams that have made it thus far are tough. I have had a chance to play against Wydad Casablanca and they are a very good side. When you play them at home, they don’t play the same when they play away”.
Casting an eye on the other two teams in the group he adds: “Likewise, Horoya are a team that plays good football. They are also dangerous when you play them at home, but they are not the same when they play away. I have also watched Petro,” he confirms. “They also a good team. What will be important is for us is to win our home games.”
The group stages begin on 12 February. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the quarterfinals. Chiefs’ South African compatriots Mamelodi Sundowns are drawn in group B along with TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Al Hilal (Sudan) and CR Belouizdad (Algeria).