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Examining North Africa's dominance in the CAF Champions League

In the uncertainty of sport, one thing is certain: North Africa's dominance over the continent's Champions League will continue for another year. Eleven of the 16 teams playing in the second round of the competition are from that region, and although that does not guarantee North Africa will have a 13th champion come the end of the year, it does assure them of almost half of the spots in the eight-team group stage.

The six teams involved in regional derbies mean that at least three places in the group stage will go to North African teams and they could have as many as six in the main draw. Those teams have attracted most of the interest around this weekend's first-leg ties but there was some other things to look out for as well.

Here are Football Africa's four top story lines:

Emad Meteb's absence for Al-Ahly

The competition's most successful club, Al-Ahly, make the tip to Morocco to play Moghreb Tetouan but they will be without striker Emad Meteb. Despite being their top scorer in the league season with nine goals and the man who netted the winner in last year's CAF Confederation Cup, Meteb has been left out of Al-Ahly's last two matches and is not happy about his omission.

"I have faced a lot in my life, but I never passed by such a situation, to be physically ready and in a period of time where I score a lot but not called for the match," he said. "I am supposed to be in the squad, I don't know what's happening with me in Al-Ahly."

Coach Juan Carlos Garrido has not provided a reason for Meteb's exclusion but may have some explaining to do should Al-Ahly fail to walk away with a win, especially as their opposition has the competition's join top-scorer. Mohcine Iajour has netted five goals in the tournament so far, including a hat trick in the first round against Kano Pillars.

The other leading scorer

He is not a North African but Ighodaro Christian Osaguona has played a key role in Raja Casablanca's performances on the continent so far. He scored two of the six goals in their two-legged tie against Congolese side Diables Noirs and all three of the goals that saw them beat South African league leaders Kaizer Chiefs in the first round.

Osaguona has showed off the full range, from scoring from a set piece to poking home from close range and unleashing from distance, and is establishing himself as one to watch. He has played just two games for Nigeria, during the last years' African Nations Cup qualifying and may be called on for more of the same in the future.

Kaloum's first

Guinean side AS Kaloum have already made history by progressing beyond the first round of the CAF Champions League for the first time in their existence, but now the 14-time domestic title holders will be looking to go one better. They face Algerian side USM Alger and will fancy their chances after they already sent one of the stronger clubs packing earlier in the tournament.

Kaloum knocked off Ivorian side Sewe Sport, who have had a good two years on the continent with a group stage appearance in 2013 and a second-round exit last year. AS Kaloum's 3-2 aggregate win was regarded as a huge shock and they went one better when they held their nerve to beat Zambia's Zesco United on penalties in the first round.

Duarte's debut

Paulo Duarte has already coached at international level in Africa and took both Burkina Faso and Gabon to African Nations Cups but this is his first foray into the continent's Champions League. He was put in charge of Tunisian side CS Sfaxien this week, replacing Ghazi Gharairi.

Duarte has big shoes to fill. At last year's competition, CS Sfaxien were coached by Philippe Troussier, who took them to the semifinal of the competition, where they lost to the DRC's AS Vita. The previous year they were under Ruud Krol, who won the CAF Confederation Cup with them, beating another Congolese side TP Mazembe. Duarte will have to wait to play against teams from the DRC, first up is Algeria's MC El Eulma. Whatever happens, Duarte will hope he does not go the same way as Krol, who quit over unpaid bonuses after winning the trophy.