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Nomads, Masters draw tough opponents

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Malawi’s representatives in Confederation of African Football (Caf) competitions, Be Forward Wanderers and Masters Security, have been drawn against relatively tough opponents for the Champions League and the Confederation Cup.
The pairings were done yesterday at Caf’s headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, and Wanderers drew AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in their return to the Champions League whereas Masters have been pitted against Atletico Petroleos of Angola in their maiden continental appearance.
The Nomads, who are on the verge of winning the TNM Super League championship this season after an 11-year wait, will begin their campaign with a home fixture on February 9 in Lilongwe before playing the return leg a week later.
But Masters will start with an away fixture in Angola before getting the chance to play at home..
Both local teams will start from the preliminary rounds.
Wanderers Team Manager, Steve Madeira, said his team will be ready for the tournament come February.
“We know there is a big challenge ahead of us but we are going there to compete. By February, we will be ready for the big stage and, hopefully, we will go through to the next round,” Madeira said.
The Nomads’ Captain, Joseph Kamwendo, who had a stint with DRC giants TP Mazembe, said he was anticipating a good game against AS Vita.
“It will be a very good game since I know exactly how they play. Vita is a very good side like Mazembe but we can beat them because we are also a good team,” Kamwendo is quoted as saying on Wanderers’ official website.
Wanderers will be making a return to the competition after 17 years of absence.
They were booted out of the competition by South African side, Mamelodi Sundowns, 5-1 on aggregate.
In a separate interview, Masters Head Coach, Abasi Makawa, described the draw as tough.
“Eish! Angola? They have very good teams in Angola but we will prepare well for the games and see how we can fair against them,” Makawa said.
Masters , who are in danger of dropping to the second-tier this season, have already indicated that they would beef up their squad before taking part in the continental showpiece.
Some 56 teams will compete in the Champions League with 53 others playing in the Confederations Cup.
Based in Kinshasa, Vita were founded in 1935 and last won the DRC league championship in the 2014-15 season.
The club has won 13 league titles, nine Coupe du Congo and one Super Coupe du Congo titles. They won the Caf Champions League in 1973 and finished as runners-up twice in 1981 and 2014, having participated in the competition 14 times.
From 2008 to 2010, Vita participated in the Confederations Cup, where they were eliminated in the round of 16, group stages and round of 16.
Masters’ opponents, Petroleos, who are based in Luanda, are the Angolan league champions.
They also won the league championship in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

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