Africa's clubs start the long search for continental glory at the weekend (Jan 28-30) in both the African Champions League and the African Confederation Cup but this year have a new incentive to spur them on.

The winner of the 2005 African Champions League will represent the continent in December's FIFA Club World Championships in Japan, presenting Africa's elite with a chance to compete against the best clubs from FIFA's five other continental confederations.

The reintroduction of the FIFA Club World Championship has been widely welcomed in Africa where clubs also have a chance to share in marketing and television revenues beyond their wildest dreams, money which has the potential to allow clubs to dream of ambitious projects.

Nigeria's Enyimba again lead the field of favourites for this year's Champions League title after winning a second successive title last year. It was only the second time in almost 40 years that a club had successfully defended their title in the continent's top club competition. The Nigerian club needed a penalty shootout to edge out Etoile Sahel from Tunisia.

But this year they face stiff opposition, particularly from north African clubs like Al Ahli and Zamalek of Egypt, Tunisia's Esperance and Raja Casablanca of Morocco. Ghana also have two strong representatives in Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko - who contested the 2004 African Confederation Cup final - while South African glamour side Kaizer Chiefs return for the first time in 12 years.

A total of 38 clubs begin the Champions League chase at the weekend with first round, first leg matches in destinations as diverse as Morocco in the west to the Seychelles in the east.
The 19 first round winners will be joined by 13 more seeded clubs in the second round in March and there will be a further knockout round in April before the Champions League field is whittled down to eight sides.

The last eight are then divided into two groups and play the league phase from June to September. The top two teams in each group advance to the semi-finals and the final, played over two legs, which has been brought forward to early November to allow the winner time to prepare for Japan.

The African Confederation Cup begins only its second edition after launching in 2004. It is an amalgamation of the old African Cup Winners Cup and the CAF Cup.
 
2005 AFRICAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
First round draw:
Royal Armed Forces (Morocco) v ASC Ksar (Mauritania)
Djoliba (Mali) v AS Douanes (Senegal)
Racing Bafoussam (Cameroon) v Donjo (Benin)
Daring Club Motema Pembe (DR Congo) v Rayon Sport (Rwanda)
Dolphin FC (Nigeria) v Renacimiento FC (Equatorial Guinea)
Sagrada Esperanca (Angola) v Mangasport (Gabon)
AS Aviacao (Angola) v Blue Waters (Namibia)
Tusker FC (Kenya) v KMKM (Zanzibar)
TP Mazembe Englebert (DR Congo) v ASFA Yennega (Burkina Faso)
Ajax Cape Town (South Africa) v Mhlambanyatsi Rovers (Swaziland)
Diaraf Dakar (Senegal) v Fello Star Labe (Guinea)
Al Hilal (Sudan) v Awassa City (Ethiopia)
La Passe (Seychelles) v USJF Ravinala (Madagascar)
Kaizer Chiefs (South Africa) v AS Port Louis 2000 (Mauritius)
Simba SC (Tanzania) v Ferroviario Nampula (Mozambique)
CAPS United (Zimbabwe) v Lesotho Defence Force (Lesotho)
Red Arrows (Zambia) v Diables Noirs (Congo)
Olympic (Libya) v Renaissance (Chad)
SC Villa (Uganda) v Adulis Club (Eritrea)
Second round:
Asante Kotoko (Ghana) v Royal Armed Forces or ASC Ksar
Djoliba or AS Douanes v Etoile Sahel (Tunisia)
Racing Bafoussam or Donjo v Africa Sports (Cote d'Ivoire)
Daring Club Motema Pembe or Rayon Sports v Raja Casablanca (Morocco)
Dolphin FC or Renacimiento FC v Hearts of Oak (Ghana)
Sagrada Esperanca or Mangasport v ASEC Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire)
AS Aviacao or Blue Waters v Coton Sport (Cameroon)
Tusker or KMKM v Zamalek (Egypt)
TP Mazembe Englebert or ASFA Yennega v Ajax Cape Town or Mhlambanyatsi Rovers
Diaraf Dakar or Fello Star Labe v JS Kabylie (Algeria)
Al Hilal or Awassa City v Esperance (Tunisia)
La Passe or USJF Ravinala v Kaizer Chiefs or AS Port Louis 2000
Simba SC or Ferroviario Nampula v Enyimba (Nigeria)
CAPS United or Lesotho Defence Force v Red Arrows or Diables Noirs
Olympic or Renaissance v USM Alger (Algeria)
SC Villa or Adulis Club v Al Ahli (Egypt)
 
 
2005 AFRICAN CONFEDERATION CUP
First round draw:
Mogas '90 (Benin) v AS Douanes (Togo)
Dakar University Club (Senegal) v Omnisport Meknes (Morocco)
AS Nianan Koulikoro (Mali) v Olympique Khouribga (Morocco)
El Nguema (Equatorial Guinea) v Munisport (Congo)
CS Cimenterie Lukala (DR Congo) v CO Bouafle (Cote d'Ivoire)
ASF Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso) v Al Ittihad (Libya)
Gazelle (Chad) v FC 105 Libreville (Gabon)
Botswana Defence Force XI (Botswana) v Sonangol Namibie (Angola)
Red Star (Seychelles) v Savanne SC (Mauritius)
Kipanga (Zanzibar) v Kampala City Council (Uganda)
Green Buffaloes (Zambia) v APR FC (Rwanda)
Ferroviario Maputo (Mozambique) v Motor Action (Zimbabwe)
USCAFOOT (Madagascar) v Prisons (Tanzania)
Banks (Ethiopia) v Chemelil (Kenya)
Second round draw:
Mogas '90 or AS Douanes v Stella Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire)
Dakar University Club or Omnisport Meknes v AS Marsa (Tunisia)
AS Kamsar (Guinea) v Bendel Insurance (Nigeria)
King Faisal Babes (Ghana) v ASC Ndiambour (Senegal)
AS Nianan Koulikoro or Olympique Khouribga v Mouloudia Oran (Algeria)
Concorde (Mauritania) v Bamboutos (Cameroon)
El Nguema or Munisport v Enugu Rangers (Nigeria)
CS Cimenterie Lukala or CO Bouafle v Union Douala (Cameroon)
ASF Bobo Dioulasso or Al Ittihad v JS Kairouan (Tunisia)
Gazelle or FC 105 Libreville v InterClube (Angola)
Botswana Defence Force XI or Sonangol Namibie v FC St Eloi Lupopo (DR Congo)
Red Star or Savanne SC v SuperSport United (South Africa)
Kipanga or Kampala City Council v Green Buffaloes or APR FC
Ferroviario Maputo or Motor Action v Ismaili (Egypt)
USCAFOOT or Prisons v Al Merreikh (Sudan)
Banks or Chemelil v Arab Contractors (Egypt)