Nine-time champions Ahly dare not underestimate outsiders Chiefs

A CAF Champions League season stacked with shocks will produce another on Saturday if newbie finalists Kaizer Chiefs Beat nine-time winners Al Ahly in Moroccan financial capital Casablanca.

Numerous amongst the millions who support Egyptian and African giants Ahly think the result is not in doubt at Stade Mohammed V, their only concerns is the success margin for the Mohamed el Shenawy-captained Cairo Red Devils.

Yet Chiefs were rank outsiders when the competitors began last November and the South African club have actually currently defied huge chances to reach the last.

Although they are 2 of the greatest names in African football, the groups have actually satisfied simply when, with Ahly winning 4-1 in the one-off 2002 CAF Super Cup match in Cairo.

Ahly reached the 2021 last by winning 8 matches, drawing 3 and losing simply one, away to shock Group A winners Simba in Tanzania at the mini-league phase.

Winners of a record 21 CAF titles in 4 competitors, the Cairo club have actually scored 23 objectives, consisting of 5 from leading scorer Mohamed Sherif, and yielded simply 6 en path to Casablanca.

They are assisted by South African Pitso Mosimane, a youth Chiefs’ fan who will connect five-title Tunisian Faouzi Benzarti as the most effective African coaches in CAF club competitors if Ahly victory.

He selects his group from a mix of Egyptian, Tunisian, Malian and Nigerian stars and, considering that changing Swiss Rene Weiler last September, has actually won 36 of 50 matches in all competitors, drawn 10 and lost 4.

His stars consist of El Shenawy, extensively considered as the very best goalkeeper in Africa, full-back Ali Maaloul, midfielders Aliou Dieng and Mohamed ‘Afsha’ Magdy and forward Sherif.

Although Mosimane has sufficient TELEVISION video of Chiefs, he still identifies the Soweto side “mysterious” and “difficult to analyse”.

Likewise, maybe playing mind video games, he states the South Africans have “scored a lot and conceded a lot” in the Champions League this season.

In truth, the Amakhosi (Chiefs) have actually balanced less than an objective a video game in Africa, notching 12 in 14 certifying, group, quarter-final and semi-final matches.

– 11 tidy sheets –

They yielded 4 to Wydad Casablanca, 3 to Simba and 2 to Horoya in Guinea, however likewise boast 11 tidy sheets.

“I have a little bit of a conflict facing Chiefs,” confesses Mosimane. “I am a South African plotting the downfall of my countrymen.

“Nevertheless, it has to do with me, my household and my group. They precede. Either I wish to provide my winners medal to Chiefs or keep it for myself and I believe you (media) understand the response to that a person.

“Ahly are not a welfare or charitable organisation handing out stars (Champions League winners medals). We want to win what they call ‘El Ashra’ (10th title) in Egypt.”

Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane belonged to the group hammered by Ahly in the Super Cup 19 years back when among the Egyptian objectives was scored by goalkeeper Essam el Hadary from a cleaning kick.

He states the desire to please club chairman and previous star Kaizer Motaung is a big aspect driving the underdogs, whose only CAF success was available in the 2001 edition of the now defunct African Cup Winners Cup.

“Kaizer formed the club 51 years ago and turned it into the most successful in South Africa, but we have not won anything since 2015 and now is the time to alter that unacceptable statistic.”

Chiefs will depend on a tight defence marshalled by huge centre-back Eric Mathoho, and they can select from a trio of exceptional goalkeepers in Nigerian Daniel Akpeyi, Itumeleng Khune and Bruce Bvuma.

Veteran Zimbabwean Willard Katsande is combative and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo innovative in midfield while Serbian forward Samir Nurkovic is a medical finisher, both on the ground and in the air.

Burundian Pacifique Ndabihawenimana will referee the 4th Champions League last in between Egyptian and South African clubs with the north Africans holding a 2-1 lead.

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.