The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda/Burundi: APR, Police Draw Burundi Sides

NATIONAL football league champions APR has been drawn against Vital'O of Burundi in the preliminary round of the 2013 CAF Champions League while Police will play Lydia Ludic Club, also from Burundi, in the Confederation Cup.

In the event of qualification to the next round, then APR will come up against Rangers of Nigeria and SC Do Principe of Sao Tome and Principe, while Police will play DRC's DCMP if they qualify.

APR play host to the Burundian champions in the first leg on the weekend of February 15-17, while the return leg has been scheduled for March 1-3 in Bujumbura.

Police will play away in the first leg before hosting Lydia Ludic in the second leg in Kigali.

Police will be competing for the very first time in the continental competition after finishing second in the national football league last season.

This year, APR, under coach Ernie Brandts, managed to reach the second round of the Orange Champions League, falling to Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel who ejected the Rwandan side 3-2 on goal aggregates.

In the first round, APR beat Kenya's Tusker 1- 0 on aggregate. The two teams settled for a barren draw in Nairobi but the military side scored in the second half of the return leg in Kigali to crash Tusker's hopes of a second round appearance.

The last time APR faced a Nigerian side was way back in 2003 in the CAF Cup Winners' Cup when the military side was knocked out in the semi final by Julius Berger following a 3-2 goal aggregate.

Al Ahly, E.S.T of Tunisia, TP Mazembe (RDC), Al Merrikh (Sudan), Djoliba (Mali), Hilal (Sudan), Stade Malien (Mali), E.S. Sétif (Algeria) have all been given byes to the second round.

A powerful 56-club field chasing a $1.5 million first prize also includes five former winners of other CAF titles in Bizertin of Tunisia, Enugu Rangers of Nigeria, FUS Rabat of Morocco, Horoya of Guinea and Al Merreikh of Sudan.

Ahly edged Esperance 3-2 over two legs to win a record-stretching seventh title last month and the two North African giants will be the teams to beat again next year along with 2010 Club World Cup runners-up Mazembe.

The three qualifying rounds begin on February 15 and end on May 5 with the eight second round winners advancing to the group phase and the losers to the play-offs in the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup.

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