Several of Africa's leading lights from years past made faltering attempts to restore their reputations at the start of this year's CAF Champions League at the weekend.
CARA Brazzaville of the Congo, who were African Champions' Cup winners 35 years ago, returned to the continent's top club competition, but shipped in five goals in their first round, first leg tie. Canon Yaounde, once among the continent's powerhouses, suffered the embarrassment of being held at home by minnows from Burundi, while Daring Club Motema Pembe from DR Congo were beaten on home soil.
It all points to a year of possible upsets in a competition which is generally easy to predict.
CARA lost 5-2 away at Angola's Primeiro Agosto with coach Alain Ngouinda lamenting their many defensive mistakes. "It would have been a different result if we didn't make so many errors," he said after the weekend loss at Luanda's Estadio Cidadela.
The Angolan army side, playing their first match under new Ukrainian coach Viktor Bondarenko, scored twice through international winger Fofana and also saw experienced forward Love on target. CARA's display was a far cry from their success in 1974, but the club have not played at this level of competition for over 20 years and found the rigours of a return at the top level of international competition an eye-opening one.
Difficulties for Cameroon's kings
Canon Yaounde won the competition three times, albeit their last success came 30 years ago, but they too are finding the opposition difficult to deal with.
They needed a late equaliser from Mezang Mbete in the 85th minute to avoid the embarrassment of a rare home defeat to Burundi's Inter Star, who had taken a lead just after half-time through Moussa Harerimana, prompting coach Amars Niyongabo to declare: "Everything rests on what happens in the return match in Bujumbura and hopefully we can achieve a result against Canon as good as this one today."
In Kinshasa, DC Motema Pembe can usually bank on a passionate crowd of up to 80,000 for their home games in African club competition. But they were muted on Sunday as Gabon's Mangasport got an early goal and a second-half winner to gain a surprise 2-1 away victory.
Romaric Rogombe made it 1-0 after just eight minutes and the winner came from Chad international Ahmed Evariste Medego.
Young Africans of Tanzania enjoyed an emphatic success at the weekend, as they hammered eight past Etoile d'Or Mirontsy from the Comoros Islands in Dar-es-Salaam and Morocco's Royal Armed Forces put six past Sporting Praia of the Cape Verde Islands. That included a hat trick for Mustapaha Allaoi, with two penalties among them, while Kenyan striker Boniface Ambani scored four for Yanga.
The first round field did not include defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt and several other leading contenders, who were given byes to the second round in March.
Djoliba 4-0 Casa Sport
Monomotapa 2-0 Miembeni
Daring Club Motema Pembe 1-2 Mangasport
Petro Atletico 3-0 Royal Leopards
Ferroviario Maputo 2-0 Kampala City Council
SuperSport United 3-0 Curepipe Starlight
Heartland FC 4-0 Black Star
Canon Yaounde 1-1 Inter Star
AS Douanes 3-1 Ports Authority
Young Africans 8-1 Etoile d'Or Mirontsy
Kano Pillars 2-0 Elect Sport
Al Merreikh 2-1 Atraco
Primeiro Agosto 5-2 Renaissance Aiglons
ZESCO United 2-0 Mathare United
Etoile Filante 2-0 Heart of Lions
Royal Armed Forces 6-1 Sporting Praia
Al Ahli Tripoli 6-0 AS Police
ASO Chlef 1-0 Fello Star Labe
The return legs will be played on the weekend of 13-15 February.