Confederation of African Football (CAF) has made some key amendments to club competition rules which state that effective 2023/24 season, the additional round of playoffs in the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup and Champions League has been cancelled.
Initially, at the start of the competition, the qualified teams were entered in qualification rounds which had a two-part Preliminary Round and the First Round.
However, following changes, the First Round has been scrapped off and, this means that the winning clubs of the Preliminary Round will qualify directly to the group stage of both the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League and the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup.
It also follows that teams that are knocked out of the CAF Champions League Preliminary Round will not drop to participate in the Confederation Cup as it was before.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) club licencing and compliance manager Casper Jangale said the changes are an advantage to financially struggling Malawian clubs.
“Before the changes, the qualification journey was just too long.
“Apart from being complicated, it was also financially draining for the clubs since they had to play in three rounds just to reach the group stage. But now, just after two matches, a team will qualify for the group stage.”
Malawi representatives TNM Super League champions FCB Nyasa Bullets this afternoon face Equatorial Guinea’s El Dragons FC in the Preliminary Round while the second leg will be played between August 25 and 27.
If successful, Bullets will face TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo and the winner will proceed to the group stage.
Bullets chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said they welcome the new format.
Nyirenda said the new format is great news for clubs who have often struggled to get to the group stage due to the tight nature.
He said: “Firstly, it’s not easy to participate in CAF Champions League. It requires a lot of resources.
“For example, we have been paired against a West African team [Dragons FC] and that is going to cost a fortune.
“If we make it through then our next journey will be to DR Congo to face TP Mazembe. Now, imagine going through three rounds of such travelling.
“So, in short it is a relief for us that CAF has reduced the number of qualifying rounds for the 2023/24 CAF Champions League.”
Bullets have in the past four years been knocked out of the CAF Champions League in the preliminary round.