Uganda Premier League champions Vipers SC will play Olympic Real de Bangui of Central Africa Republic at the first round of the CAF Champions League Qualifiers.
This is after the draw held on Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt ahead of kickoff Africa’s prestigious club competition.
The Venoms will visit Bangui between September 9-11 before the return leg at Kitende between September 16-18.
The winner of the round will progress to the second round.
At the second round, awaiting is DR Congo Giants TP Mazembe who have been exempted from the first round!
And if Vipers negotiate past Mazembe, they sail through to the lucrative group stages, a feat only achieved by KCCA FC.
But a defeat at the second round will see Vipers drop down to CAF Confederation Cup playoff stage.
Bangui is the defending champion of Central Africa Republic league after winning the title for a 13th time last season.
It’s strong to note that Cesar Manzoki, Vipers striker currently, opted to play for Central Africa Republic ahead of DR Congo.
How Far Can Vipers Go?
With all previous investments, Lawrence Mulindwa’s target has always been to see his club Vipers dominate on the continent.
But his side is yet to knockout on the Continent door after repeated failures to progress to the lucrative group stages.
They have been unlucky to some given the nature of the draw they have been paired with.
In the 2016 CAF Champions League Qualifiers, they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Nigeria’s Enyimba FC.
The following season, they beat Volcano (Comoros) but lost to South Africa’s Platinum Stars in the first round.
Recently, they were ousted by Al Hilal of Sudan on 2-0 aggregate loss. They visited the side without six players due to COVID-19!
From all those bruises, one may suggest that they have learnt a thing or two from their past failures.
But they will bank on the squad to go an extra mile this time round, and if it fails, at least a CAF Confederation Cup group stage may be within their reach.
Lumala Abdu, Murushid Juuko, Marvin Youngman Joseph, Isa Mubiru and Ashraf Mandela join foreign-based trio of Alfred Macumu Mudekereza, Olivier Osomba and Abubakar Lawal among new signings.
They may add more, but their remaining biggest hurdle is to keep striker Cesar Manzoki, a battle they seem to have lost two months back as they striker reportedly signed for Simba SC of Tanzania.
Whatever happens from that Manzoki saga, Yunus Sentamu and Milton Karisa were impressive last season and coach Roberto Oliveira will feel he has enough armour to go past the first hurdle of Bangui at least.
And with good preparations, including friendlies against Young Africans (Tanzania) and Rayon Sports (Rwanda), the Venoms will give their all this time.
Full CAF Champions League Draw
First Preliminary Round
Fixture 1. Rivers United (Nigeria) vs. Watanga FC (Liberia)
Fixture 2. AS Stade Mandji (Gabon) vs. Plateau United (Nigeria)
Fixture 3. ASN Nigelec (Niger) vs. SOAR (Guinea)
Fixture 4. APR FC (Rwanda) vs. US Monastir (Tunisia)
Fixture 5. OR de Bangui (Central African Republic) vs. Vipers SC (Uganda)
Fixture 6. Volcan Club de Moroni (Comoros) vs. La Passe FC (Seychelles)
Fixture 7. Coton Sport (Benin) vs. ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast)
Fixture 8. Hawks (Gambia) vs. Horoya AC (Guinea)
Fixture 9. ASKO Kara (Togo) vs. FC Nouadhibou (Mauritania)
Fixture 10. Casamance FC (Senegal) vs. JS Kabylie (Algeria)
Fixture 11. Deportivo Mongomo (Equatorial Guinea) vs. Djoliba AC (Mali)
Fixture 12. Bo Rangers (Sierra Leone) vs. CR Belouizdad (Algeria)
Fixture 13. Zalan FC (South Sudan) vs. Young Africans SC (Tanzania)
Fixture 14. Saint George SC (Ethiopia) vs. Al-Hilal Omdurman (Sudan)
Fixture 15. AS Arta Solar 7 (Djibouti) vs. Al-Merrikh (Sudan)
Fixture 16. KMKM SC (Zanzibar) vs. Al Ahli Tripoli (Libya)
Fixture 17. Flambeau du Centre (Burundi) vs. Al-Ittihad (Libya)
Fixture 18. Elect Sport (Chad) vs. Zamalek (Egypt)
Fixture 19. Cape Town City (South Africa) vs. AS Otohô (Republic of Congo)
Fixture 20. Black Bulls (Mozambique) vs. Petro de Luanda (Angola)
Fixture 21. Red Arrows (Zambia) vs. Primeiro de Agosto (Angola)
Fixture 22. Big Bullets (Malawi) vs. Simba SC (Tanzania)
Fixture 23. CFFA (Madagascar) vs. Royal Leopards (Eswatini)
Fixture 24. Matlama FC (Lesotho) vs. Coton Sport (Cameroon)
Fixture 25. Rail Club Kadiogo (Burkina Faso) vs. Asante Kotoko (Ghana)
Fixture 26. Gaborone United (Botswana) vs. AS Vita Club (DR Congo)
Second Preliminary Round
Winner of Fixture 1 vs. Wydad AC (Morocco)
Winner of Fixture 2 vs. Espérance ST (Tunisia)
Winner of Fixture 3 vs. Raja CA (Morocco)
Winner of Fixture 4 vs. Al Ahly SC (Egypt)
Winner of Fixture 5 vs. TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
Winner of Fixture 6 vs. Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
Winner of Fixture 7 vs. Winner of Fixture 8
Winner of Fixture 9 vs. Winner of Fixture 10
Winner of Fixture 11 vs. Winner of Fixture 12
Winner of Fixture 13 vs. Winner of Fixture 14
Winner of Fixture 15 vs. Winner of Fixture 16
Winner of Fixture 17 vs. Winner of Fixture 18
Winner of Fixture 19 vs. Winner of Fixture 20
Winner of Fixture 21 vs. Winner of Fixture 22
Winner of Fixture 23 vs. Winner of Fixture 24
Winner of Fixture 25 vs. Winner of Fixture 26