Alex Song used to play for marquee European clubs Arsenal and Barcelona. Now, he is preparing to line up with Arta Solar 7 of Djibouti in the CAF Confederation Cup.
It will be a tall order for the 33-year-old Cameroonian as the team from the tiny Horn of Africa nation drew Al Mokawloon Al Arab (formerly Arab Contractors) in the preliminary-round draw in Cairo last Monday.
While success in Africa has eluded the Cairo outfit of late, it won the now-defunct African Cup Winners Cup three times between 1982 and 1996.
Mokawloon qualified by finishing fourth behind African giants Al Ahly and Zamalek and 2020 Confederation Cup runner-up Pyramids in the Egyptian Premier League.
The route to Africa for Arta was less daunting as it lifted the FA Cup in Djibouti, a country ranked 51st in Africa and 185th in the world.
This will be the club's third consecutive Confederation Cup appearance. Arta suffered a heavy defeat to Kariobangi Stars of Kenya in 2018 followed by a better showing last year when going down to Al Khartoum of Sudan.
Should the virtually unimaginable happen and Arta eliminates Mokawloon, it would face an even bigger obstacle in continental giant Etoile Sahel of Tunisia.
Etoile is the only club to have won all five current and now-defunct CAF competitions－the Champions League, Confederation Cup, Super Cup, African Cup Winners Cup and CAF Cup.
Apart from playing for the senior team, Song will supervise youth development at Solar during his two-year contract.
The Douala-born relative of Cameroon soccer legend Rigobert Song was ditched by Swiss side Sion this year after refusing to take a pay cut necessitated by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Apart from wearing the colors of Arsenal, Barcelona and Sion, Song has played for Bastia in France, Charlton Athletic and West Ham United in England, and Rubin Kazan in Russia.
Meanwhile, Confederation Cup titleholder Renaissance Berkane of Morocco received a preliminary-round bye and awaits the winner between AS Kaloum of Guinea and Tevragh-Zeina of Mauritania.
Berkane hails from the citrus fruit-producing northeast of Morocco so it is no surprise that followers of the team fondly call them the 'Orange Boys'.
Berkane has made steady progress in four Confederation Cup appearances, going from preliminary-round losers in 2015 to quarterfinalists three seasons later and a runner-up in 2019.
A new goal for Renaissance will be to emulate CS Sfaxien of Tunisia and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and win back-to-back titles.
Those who could stand in its way include the four former African champions in the field－Entente Setif and JS Kabylie of Algeria, Orlando Pirates of South Africa and Etoile Sahel.
Preliminary-round matches are scheduled for Nov 27-29 and Dec 4-6 and those in the last-32 stage will be played on Dec 22-23 and Jan 5-6.
The 16 survivors of the qualifying rounds will be entered into a separate draw against the CAF Champions League last-32 losers, with places in the group draw up for grabs.