African Champions League holders Wydad Casablanca have been paired with Angolan club Petro Atletico, who the Moroccans beat in the semi-finals last season, in this season’s group stage.
The draw, which was made in Cairo, also pitted May’s runners-up and 10-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt against South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns for the fourth time in five seasons.
Also in Group B are Al Hilal from Sudan and Cameroonian outfit Coton Sport.
Al Ahly had dreams of an unprecedented third consecutive title dashed this year by a Wydad side coached by Walid Regragui, who has guided Morocco to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar.
Wydad, who won their third continental title, will also face JS Kabylie of Algeria and Vita Club from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Group A.
The second Moroccan challengers, Raja Casablanca, are another club longing to win the competition again as the three-time champions last lifted the trophy in 1999.
Raja are in Group C – arguably the weakest overall – with two-time quarter-finalists Horoya of Guinea, improving Simba of Tanzania and group debutants Vipers of Uganda.
Group D may be the trickiest to navigate, with Egyptian outfit Zamalek having won the competition five times while Esperance of Tunisia have been African champions four times.
Their opponents CR Belouizdad of Algeria have reached the quarter-finals in the past two editions, while Sudanese side Al Merrikh are experienced international campaigners.
The group stage campaign, delayed by the World Cup in Qatar, will begin on 10 February and conclude on 1 April.
In the second-tier Caf Confederation Cup, Rivers United had their hopes of becoming the first Nigerian winners boosted when they were drawn with ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast, Diables Noirs of Congo and DC Motema Pembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Confederation Cup and Super Cup holders RS Berkane failed to make the group stage after being knocked out by US Monastir in the playoffs.
African Champions League group draw:
- Group A: Wydad Casablanca (Morocco, holders), Petro Atletico (Angola), JS Kabylie (Algeria), Vita Club (DR Congo).
- Group B: Al Ahly (Egypt), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), Al Hilal (Sudan), Coton Sport (Cameroon).
- Group C: Raja Casablanca (Morocco), Horoya (Guinea), Simba (Tanzania), Vipers (Uganda).
- Group D: Esperance (Tunisia), Zamalek (Egypt), CR Belouizdad (Algeria), Al Merrikh (Sudan).
Match days: 10-11, 17-18 and 24-25 February, 7, 17-18 and 31 March, 1 April. Top two from each group qualify for quarter-finals.
Caf Confederation Cup group draw
- Group A: USM Alger (Algeria), Marumo Gallants (South Africa), Al Akhdar (Libya), St Eloi Lupopo (DR Congo).
- Group B: ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast), Diables Noirs (Congo), Rivers United (Nigeria), DC Motema Pembe (DR Congo).
- Group C: Pyramids (Egypt), ASKO Kara (Togo), Future (Egypt), AS FAR (Morocco).
- Group D: TP Mazembe (DR Congo), US Monastir (Tunisia), Young Africans (Tanzania), Real Bamako (Mali).
Match days: 12, 19 and 26 February, 9 and 19 March, 2 April. Top two from each group qualify for quarter-finals.