Sekhukune United, one of the South African representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup, was handed a route lined with land mines.
The new entrants to the continental competition hoped for a favourable draw when the CAF Confederation Cup draws took place on Friday, October 3 2023.
In a short draw conducted in Johannesburg, South Africa, with SuperSports presenter Thomas Mlambo as the compère, Sekhukune United was handed an arduous task.
The South African side ended up in Group D with three sides with some experience in CAF Club competitions.
They drew Stade Malien (Mali), Diables Noir (Congo) and RS Berkane (Morocco).
CAF Confederation Cup Group D
|Sekhukune (South Africa)||1st appearance|
|Stade Malien (Mali)||2009 winners|
|Diable Noirs (Congo)||2nd time in the group stage|
|RS Berkane (Morocco)||2020, 2022 winners|
Who Sekhukune United will play in Group D
Sekhukune United drew some experienced sides in Group D of the CAF Confederation Cup.
The three sides Babina Noko will come against have varying degrees of success on the continent, especially in the CAF Confederation Cup.
RS Berkane (Morocco)
The Moroccan side should prove the biggest obstacle to Sekhukune United making it out of the group stage.
The Moroccan side are continental champions. They finished fourth in the Botola league and are on a quest to win the trophy they last won in 2022.
The Orange boys have won the Confederation Cup twice (2020 & 2022) and finished as Runners Up in 2019.
They also won the CAF Super Cup in 2022.
Stade Malien (Mali)
Stade Malien 23-time Malien Première Division champions. They are one of the recognizable teams in the competition.
The Malian side has a rich history in CAF competitions. They reached the final of the African Cup of Champions Club and lost to Oryx Douala 2-1.
They also featured in the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time in 2009 and beat Entente de Sétif in the final 3-2 on penalties after tying 2-2 on aggregate.
The 2023/24 CAF Confederation Cup is their ninth time in the competition.
Diables Noirs (Congo)
Diables Noirs, also the Black Devils, is a Congolese side based in Brazaville.
They have featured in CAF competitions several times, with six appearances in the CAF Champions League and three times in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The Congolese side reached the second round in 2013. Diable Noirs were also in the group stage of the 2022.23 edition and finished third behind Asec Mimosas and Rivers United.
Diables Noirs hopes to make it to the knockout phase of the 2023/24 edition.
How they qualified
Stade Malien had a comfortable ride to the group stage.
In the first round, they beat Watanga FC of Liberia 7-2 on aggregate. The Malian side defeated the Liberians 4-1 at home in the first leg before completing the rout in the second with a 3-1 victory.
In the second round, they defeated Aigle Noir on the away goal rule. Diable Noirs lost the first leg 3-1 and won at home 2-0.
The Congolese side drew a bye in the first round but secured a two-leg victory over Maestro United in the second round.
Diables Noirs won the first leg at home 2-0 before recording a 2-1 away victory to go through 4-1 on aggregate.
RS Berkane drew a bye in the first round and came up against Nigerian representative Bendel Insurance in the second round.
They drew the first leg away to Bendel Insurance in Benin 2-2 and completed the job with a 1-0 win at home.
In their first tie of the 2023/24 CAF Confederation Cup, Sekhukhune United won on a walkover after the Young Buffaloes withdrew due to financial problems.
They beat Saint Eloi Lupopo to qualify for the group stage. The first leg ended 1-1 before they secured a 3-1 win in the second leg.
What chances does Sekhukune United have?
It is not going to be an easy ride for Sekhukune United. Their best chances will come from how they fare against Diables Noirs and Stade Malien.
It is not impossible to shock two-time champions RS Berkane, but the North African side has shown resilience in away games and is deadly at home.
If Sekhukune can win all their home games and at least a win or two draws in the away ties, they should make it to the next round.
Sekhukune United will start their campaign with an away tie to RS Berkane on November 26 2023.
It is a difficult game to start with in the competition, but a positive result should boost their confidence.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago