Five former African champions are among 32 clubs involved in CAF Confederation Cup play-offs first legs this weekend as they chase group places.

Raja Casablanca of Morocco conquered the continent three times, Enyimba of Nigeria twice and V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo, CARA of Congo Brazzaville and ASEC of the Ivory Coast once.

V Club and ASEC have home advantage and the other three one-time title-holders play away first as Confederation Cup last-32 winners face CAF Champions League last-32 losers.

AFP Sport puts the spotlight on the five former giants as they seek to make progress in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.

The last time ASEC hosted CR Belouizdad of Algeria they won 7-0 in 2001 — a record winning margin for a CAF Champions League group game.

But the chances of an equally large victory margin are remote with ASEC failing to impress at home in the Champions League this season before dropping to the Confederation Cup.

Among those ASEC will bank on for goals in Abidjan is Kouame Alphonse Yao, popularly known as ‘Fonsinho’ and a younger brother of former Arsenal and Roma winger ‘Gervinho’.

The Brazzaville outfit face Saint George of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa and hope that the extraordinary luck they enjoyed in an earlier round continues in what appears a tight tie.

CARA conceded four penalties away to fellow former African champions Asante Kotoko of Ghana in the preliminary round, but the west Africans missed three of them.

With that sort of good fortune, who knows how far the 1974 African champions can go in a competition surprisingly won by compatriots AC Leopards six years ago.

Although the Nigerians are away to Wits of South Africa, their supporters could outnumber those of the home team in a small Johannesburg stadium on a university campus.

Thousands of football-loving Nigerian expatriates live in the South African financial capital while Wits supporters, like most in the republic, favour domestic football over CAF fare.

Enyimba are alone among the 32 contenders in boasting a 100 percent CAF record this season and goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa aims to be part of the Nigeria World Cup squad in Russia

It is 15 years since the Moroccans lifted an African trophy by defeating Coton Sport of Cameroon in the last final of a CAF third-tier competition.

And it seemed they might have to wait at least one more year for additional silverware after only drawing at home to minnows Nouadhibou of Mauritania in a last-32 first leg.

But a Mouhcine Iajour brace set up an impressive 4-2 return-leg victory, which will heighten confidence ahead of a showdown with Zanaco of Zambia in Lusaka.

V Club achieved African glory 45 years ago, and the CAF successes of bitter domestic rivals TP Mazembe since then have only added to the frustrations of the Kinshasa outfit.

Florent Ibenge is unique among African coaches in that he is in charge of a club and the national team.

Titles have eluded him, though, and while they should triumph at home against La Mancha of Congo and reach the group stage, V Club do not look likely successors to Mazembe as Confederation Cup winners.