Rwanda Premier League champions APR FC have been drawn against Somali outfit Gaadiidka FC in the first preliminary round of the CAF Champions League.
It was unveiled at the preliminary round draw, which took place on Tuesday, July 25, at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.
APR will host Gaadiidka in the first leg on August 18 or 19. A week later, the Mogadishu-based will host the return leg at the 30,000-seat Banadir Stadium.
The victorious side of the two-leg tie will square off against Egyptian club Pyramid FC, who are exempted from the first preliminary round, in the second round on September 15 or 16 and 29 or 30 for the first leg and return leg, respectively.
The Rwanda military-owned club, which recently hired Frenchman Thierry Froger as their head coach, have been gearing up for this competition, signing seven international players during the 2023 summer transfer window after changing their policy to allow the use of foreign players, following 11 years of solely using native players.
Over the course of the past 11 years, APR have repeatedly fallen short of making it past the first or second round of CAF competitions. They were wiped out by Tunisia’s US Monastir last season in the second round of the CAF Champions League on a 3-1 overall score.
Rayon Sports, who will represent Rwanda in the CAF Confederation Cup after emerging as the 2023 Peace Cup winner, were exempted from the first preliminary round.
This is due to CAF taking into account the performances of 2017 and 2018 campaigns, where the Rwandan outfit impressed and reached the group stages of the 2018 Confederation Cup.
The Blues and Whites will take on the winner of the two legs between Kenya’s Kakamega Homeboyz and Al-Hilal of Libya in the second preliminary round.
The first leg will kick off on September 17, with Rayon Sports hosting the second leg on October 1.
Other exempted teams include South Africa’s Super Sport United, Club Africain of Tunisia, Uganda’s KCCA, and Egypt’s Zamalek.
Throughout the upcoming 2023/24 CAF inter-club competitions, Champions League will feature 54 clubs from 42 member federations, whilst 52 clubs from 41 member federations will be participating in the Confederation Cup.