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TP Mazembe look to CHAN winners

Mputu Mabi
Striker Mputu Mabi is TP Mazembe's greatest asset

TP Mazembe stars return to African Champions League action this weekend after helping DR Congo win the African Nations Championship (CHAN).

The team formed by benedictine monks 70 years ago in the south-eastern city of Lubumbashi host Petro Atletico of Angola in a second round, first leg qualifier.

Mazembe had 11 players in the DR Congo squad that triumphed in Ivory Coast by beating Ghana 2-0 in last Sunday's final, and striker Mputu Mabi was named the CHAN player of the tournament.

Defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt had a first-round bye and begin their defence home to Young Africans of Tanzania.

The Cairo side have had an unusual lean spell domestically, going four matches without a win before beating lowly Olympic 3-0 on Wednesday.

Young Africans beat minnows Etoile d'Or Mirontsy from the Comoros Islands by a record 14-1 aggregate scoreline in the first round.

Three-time champions Canon Yaounde of Cameroon are away to Angolans Primeiro Agosto, and 1991 winners Club Africain of Tunisia host Mali's Djoliba.

Etoile du Sahel, who stunned Ahly in the 2007 final, have bolstered their squad with Nigerian, Brazilian and Colombian signings ahead of a home fixture against Algerian outfit ASO Chlef.

Asec Mimosas of Ivory Coast host Etoile Filante of Burkina Faso, and Asec coach Patrick Leiwig is treating the visitors with caution.

"They're a good team with strong players in attack, tall players, physical players, and a good midfield," Leiwig told BBC Sport.

"We have to be careful, because the first rounds in the Champions League can be dangerous."

"We have some new players without Champions League experience but they are good quality, and we'll see what they can do in the competition."

Last year's runners-up Coton Sport of Cameroon begin their campaign at home to Gabon'sMangasport, who knocked out DC Motema Pembe of DR Congo in the first round.

Nigerians Heartland have a tricky fixture as they host FAR Rabat of Morocco.

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see also
2009 Champions League statistics
15 Feb 09 |  African
Canon Yaounde edge past Inter
15 Feb 09 |  African
Coton Sport 2-2 Al Ahly
16 Nov 08 |  African

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