Express FC will face Sudanese powerhouse Al-Merrikh in the forthcoming 2021/22 CAF Champions League Preliminary round.
The Red Eagles will host the first leg on September 10-12 before heading to Khartoum for the return leg on September 17-19.
If Express negotiates past Al-Merrikh, they will progress to face winner between Akonangui FC (Equatorial Guinea) and Zanaco FC (Zambia) in the second preliminary round.
Al-Merrikh who have won 16 Sudan league titles, reached the semifinals of the CAF Champions League in 2015.
They eliminated Vipers last season on their way to CAF Champions League lucrative group stages.
Express FC, who were declared Uganda Premier League Champions, will be making their first appearance at CAF’s elite club competition since 1997.
Then, Express beat Tanzania’s Young Africans but failed to make the groups after falling to Caps United (Zimbabwe) in the first round.
Only KCCA FC have made the group stages of the competition in its current format.
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Having won the league last season, Express earned the right to represent Uganda on the continent.
Whatever happens next, Express will be hoping to make trips to the contingent a habit.
They have impressed at the CECAFA Kagame Cup (play final on Saturday) and have so far been admirable in the transfer market as they prepare for CAF duties.
“I believe that I do not have anyone in the club who is going to participate or go on tour on the continent, everyone is going to do his role, and am certain we will fulfil them,” Express FC chairman Kiryowa Kiwanuka recently said about CAF Champions League engagements.
If they beat Al-Merrikh, they will go to the next phase where even a loss will at least see them drop to CAF CONFEDERATION Cup playoff round.
Al-Merrikh will be the favourites to advance to the next round given their vast experience on the continent.
They beat Vipers last season 1-0 in both legs home and away and will use this as their source of motivation.
After that Vipers win, Al-Merrikh then went on to beat Nigeria’s Enyimba to storm the CAF Champions League final.
That was the second time they had made the groups in five years.
They finished second behind Al Hilal in the Sudan Premier League last season to earn a ticket back on the continent.
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