Morocco To Host CAF Champions League Final Despite Ahly Plea


The 2022 CAF Champions League final will be hosted by Morocco on May 30, a Confederation of African Football (CAF) official confirmed on Tuesday.

“CAF received bids from Senegal and Morocco and, after the subsequent withdrawal of the Senegalese bid, Morocco has been awarded the hosting rights,” the spokesman said.

CAF did not say where in Morocco the highlight of the African club season would be played, with Agadir, Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat and Tangiers possible venues.

The decision to stage a second successive Champions League final in Morocco will upset title-holders Al Ahly from Egypt, who are likely to play Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca in the final.

In the semi-finals first legs last weekend, Wydad beat Petro Luanda 3-1 in Angola while Ahly triumphed 4-0 at home to Entente Setif from Algeria.

The return matches are scheduled for Casablanca and Algiers this Friday and Saturday.

Hopeful of reaching the final as they chase a record third consecutive title, 10-time African champions Ahly appealed to CAF president Patrice Motsepe last weekend for a neutral venue.

In a letter, Ahly said the match should not be staged in the country of one of the finalists so that “equal rights are preserved”.

“Giving one of the four teams home advantage in the final contradicts fair-play standards,” added the Cairo club.

From the second edition of the competition in 1966 until 2019 the Champions League was played over two legs.

But when Wydad refused to continue playing after a goal was disallowed during the second leg of the 2019 final at Esperance of Tunisia, CAF switched to single-match title deciders.

Cairo hosted an all-Egypt affair between Ahly and Zamalek in 2020, and Ahly triumphed again the following season, against Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa in Casablanca.

Now, CAF says in a statement they are reconsidering the decision and possibly reverting to two-leg finals.

CAF Champions League: Rivers United Beat Young Africans To Reach First Round


Nigerian club side, Rivers United have completed a double win over Young Africans of Tanzania to book their place in the first round of the CAF Champions League.

Rivers United will face Al Hilal of Sudan in the first round of the competition.

The goal, scored in the 89th minute by the newly signed player from Plateau United Uche Onwuasonaya, gave the Pride of Rivers a 1-0 to progress 2-0 on aggregate.

It was a tight encounter at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, but coach Stanley Eguma’s second half substitutions made the difference.

In the first leg of the preliminary round game played in Dar es Salam, Moses Omoduemuke scored a crucial goal to give Rivers United a lone goal victory to consolidate upon in the second leg and they did just that.

At the Samson Siasia Sports Stadium in Yenagoa, Bayelsa United defeated Ashanti Golden Boys of Guinea 4-2 in the first leg preliminary round of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Goals from Favour Martins, Emo James and a brace by Okardi Inikurogha did the job for the Aiteo Cup champions.

Al Ahly Punish Kaizer Chiefs To Win CAF Champions League For 10th Time


Egyptian club Al Ahly won a record-extending 10th CAF Champions League title on Saturday with a 3-0 final victory over 10-man South African rivals Kaizer Chiefs in Casablanca.

Mohamed Sherif scored his sixth goal of the competition after 53 minutes to put the Cairo Red Devils ahead at an empty Stade Mohammed V because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A brilliant goal from Mohamed ‘Afsha’ Magdy on 64 minutes left little doubt about the outcome in a disappointing finale to the marquee African club competition.

Amr el Sulaya rubbed salt into the wounds of Chiefs with a third goal in the 74th minute, slamming a back-heel past Nigerian goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.

Chiefs were struggling to contain Ahly late in the first half when they suffered a massive blow with the red-carding of Happy Mashiane.

The forward stamped on the right leg of full-back Ahmed Tawfik and, after initially flashing a yellow card, the Burundi referee checked the foul on a monitor and changed his decision.

It was a historic victory for Ahly, who became the first club to win the title back-to-back three times.

South Africa-born Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane, who supported Chiefs as a child, became the first African coach to win the competition three times.

He succeeded in 2016 with South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, and again with Ahly last season in an all-Egyptian final against fierce rivals Zamalek.

Ahly pocket $2.5 million for winning the Champions League and are guaranteed at least another $3.5 million when they compete in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.

Before travelling to the Far East, the Egyptian club that have won 22 African titles will play CAF Confederation Cup winners Raja Casablanca of Morocco in a one-off match for the CAF Super Cup.

It was a bitterly disappointing first appearance in the final by Chiefs, whose lone CAF title came 21 years ago when they won the now-defunct African Cup Winners Cup.

The Soweto outfit matched Ahly early on and had the lone shot on target in the opening half with an effort by Serbian forward Samir Nurkovic that Ahly goalkeeper and captain Mohamed el Shenawy comfortably saved.

Starting the second half with 10 men, Chiefs packed their defence in the hope of snatching victory through a breakaway goal or a penalty shootout.

But the resistance lasted just eight minutes before being undone by a superb pass from Tawfik that Sherif chipped over Akpeyi.


Enyimba Fall To Sudanese Club In CAF Champions League

Enyimba Book CAF Confederation Cup Quarter-Final Spot With Dramatic Win
A logo of Enyimba Football Club.


A Saifeldin Bakhit hat-trick earned Al Merrikh of Sudan a 3-0 midweek victory over Enyimba of Nigeria in the biggest upset of the CAF Champions League last 32 first legs.

While Sudanese clubs are often formidable at home in sauna-like conditions, even the most partisan supporters of the club could not have envisioned such a wide winning margin.

History offers Enyimba a glimmer of hope, though, as Simba of Tanzania lost by four goals at home to Mufulira Wanderers of Zambia in 1979 only to win the return match by five goals.

Here, AFP Sport looks at five talking points from the 13 first legs.

Merrikh turnaround

Sudanese international Bakhit struck early and late in the opening half and completed his treble in the final minute of regulation time in Omdurman.

The triumph was a welcome change of Champions League fortunes for Merrikh, who made preliminary round exits in the last three editions.

They are the only Sudanese club to win a CAF competition, edging Bendel United of Nigeria 1-0 on aggregate in the 1989 African Cup Winners Cup final.

Dramatic fightback

Former champions V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo staged the most dramatic comeback of the round, scoring twice in the final four minutes to draw 2-2 at Young Buffaloes of eSwatini.

Buffaloes look set for a shock victory in Manzini thanks to goals from Phiwayinkhosi Dlamini and Bongwa Matsebula just before and after half-time.

Fiston Mayele halved the deficit with four minutes remaining and Ricky Tulengi levelled off a penalty one minute from time for the Kinshasa club that conquered Africa in 1973.

Nkana preserve record

Zambian club Nkana stretched an unbeaten run in CAF competitions to 63 matches since debuting 37 years ago when they drew 1-1 with Angolan visitors Petro Atletico in Kitwe.

The clubs also drew when they met in Zambia in 1987, and Nkana defied the odds by winning the return match in Luanda.

Nkana looked set to build a narrow first leg lead after Harrison Chisela scored, but a last-minute equaliser from Yano, the nickname of Adriano Belmiro Duarte Nicolau, dashed their hopes.

Perfect finish

An early goal from Perfect Chikwende gave Platinum of Zimbabwe a 1-0 win over Simba of Tanzania in Harare and set up an intriguing return match early next month.

Simba are guided by Belgian Sven Vandenbroeck, who was the assistant coach of Cameroon when they pulled of a surprise 2017 Africa Cup of Nations triumph.

The Dar es Salaam outfit caused the shock of the preliminary round by eliminating Plateau United of Nigeria, whose coach had set his sights on at least a semi-finals place.

Champions win

Defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt launched their challenge for a record-extending 10th title with a 1-0 away victory over modest AS Sonidep of Niger in Niamey.

Malian Aliou Dieng scored the only goal  for the Cairo Red Devils, who defeated fellow Egyptians and fierce rivals Zamalek 2-1 last month in the 2020 final.

South Africa-born Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane did not travel to west Africa as he is recovering from coronavirus in Cairo.



CAFCL: Plateau United Accuse Simba Of Poor Sportsmanship, Plans To Protest Result

Abdul Maikaba believes his team was cheated in Tanzania.


Plateau United coach, Abdul Maikaba has accused Simba SC of Tanzania of poor sportsmanship, which he believes is responsible for his team’s early exit from the CAF Champions League.

Plateau United held the hosts to a goalless draw in Dar-Es-Salaam but losing 1-0 in the first leg in Jos showed them the way of the tournament in the preliminary round.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Sports, Coach Maikaba praised his team for making improvements and blamed the hosts for going against rules of fair play and sportsmanship to advance in the competition.


Sunday Adetunji and Ibrahim Abubakar in the dressing room minutes to match kick-off in Tanzania.

Simba’s ‘Pranks’

With a tone exuding confidence, Coach Abdul Maikaba told Channels Sports that the sole goal of Plateau was to achieve victory in Tanzania and advance to the next round of the CAF Champions League.

According to him, the boys were disappointed after the loss in Jos and were charged to make amends by giving all they had in the second leg match.

“Actually our performance was far better than what we played at home because, with the experience of the game we played in Jos, we understood our opponent more and planned our strategy very well,” the 55-year-old gaffer explained.

“If not for the pranks played by Simba, they played a lot of pranks outside the game to ensure they frustrate us.’’

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Struggling to express his disappointment, Coach Maikaba said Simba’s antics can destroy the reputation of the competition.

“It got to an extent where they tried to stop some of our players entry into their country. They kept wasting our time at the airport and they pinpoint two players, Sunday Adetunji and Abubakar Ibrahim because they performed well in Jos, they didn’t want them to be part of the game, including our goalkeeper,” Maikaba stated.

“When we arrived at our hotel, we met some medical officials who said we have to undergo COVID-19 tests. We got in late, needed to train for an hour which was the time they gave us to use the match venue, yet they were insisting we have the tests.

“We asked that they come back 30 minutes so we train but they refused and informed us they will return in 10 minutes but they didn’t return until 2 hours later. So, we left them and went on with our training. They eventually returned, did the tests and held on to it till we concluded our warm-up to the match.”

He further narrated that “Five minutes to kick-off, the match commissioner informed us that five of our players tested positive to COVID-19. The information shocked us, we knew it was their plan to frustrate and intimidate us. We told them we won’t play the match because the result is coming late.”

“Later, the catch commissioner returned with a different list that had two players, Sunday Adetunji, Abubakar Ibrahim who were their main targets, our general manager, my chief coach and one other official,” Coach Maikaba told Channels Sports.

Sunday Adetunji joined Plateau United in September this year following his return to Nigeria after a short-lived spell at Czech Republic side FK Pribram B.


Plateau United’s Abubakar Ibrahim in the dressing room before the encounter.


Coach Maikaba described his move to the Jos-based team as fantastic and was banking on him to make a difference in Dar-es-salaam.

“Sunday Adetunji and the right-back, Abubakar Ibrahim were part of the starting eleven for the match, we had to replace them three minutes to the commencement of the game,” he added.

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The coach noted that Adetunji’s absence was a huge blow to the ambition of his team.

“Right now we are at a different hospital, we want to do the test again with all those affected because 24 hours before we left Nigeria, the entire team tested negative to COVID-19. It is a shock to us that some became positive in Tanzania, less than 48 hours. If our verification results come out negative, it means they lied and we will take our case to the Confederation of African Football (CAF).”

First-Leg Regret?

Plateau United lost 1-0 to the Tanzanian champions in the first leg in Jos after losing vital chances to win it. Clatous Chama scored the winning goal for the visitors in the 53rd minute to make it a difficult task for the Nigerian team in the second leg.

Coach Maikaba agrees his team should have done better in the first leg match. “Of course I regret that result,” he admitted.

“But we gave our best and that’s what we could give because the truth is that we lacked match fitness. That was the first official game we played in nine months. It is difficult.

“If you are lucky, you will meet a team with the same problems you have, but we met a team with an edge in playing games, they had played eleven games in their league. That is the truth. But playing that game in Jos improved our match fitness and made us better in the second leg in Tanzania.”

Lessons for Nigeria

Playing continental football provides a good learning experience for participating clubs. Nigerian teams have a rich participation record in the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup but struggle to put the lessons into good use.

Coach Maikaba believes with valuable experiences in continental competitions, it is time for the country to start making positive changes with football.

“Let’s take Simba SC as a case study. In a small country like Tanzania, if you see their organization, it is far better than any club in Nigeria. The fans all in red and they got to the stadium three hours before the kick-off time. If not for CAF’s restriction of 30% capacity of the stadium, it would have packed and that’s total support for their team,” coach Maikaba stated.

He continued, “They also have a beautiful stadium with good training pitches. When you see how they operate, you’ll agree we need a better structure. They have good sponsorship; in Nigeria, it’s the reverse. Nigerian clubs lack sponsorship, we all rely on government to do things.

“Playing continental football requires a lot of preparation and you need proper investment to achieve that. For instance, we arrived in Tanzania, 24 hours to the game and that’s difficulty right there. For the first leg match in Jos, Simba arrived in Nigeria three days before the game; so you can see the difference?”

Coach Maikaba stated that corporate organisations must come into Nigerian football for it to grow. He admitted the problem is worrisome because it is deeply rooted in the grassroots.

“This exodus of our players happen right from the grassroots. Most of the discovered players from the grassroots don’t even play in the league. They just go straight to Europe. The best players in the country are owned by academies and these academies are not grooming players for the league, they ship them to Europe because of the money and in a way, you can’t blame them because it is business and they don’t believe their players will grow in the local league. The movement is not helping the league, we need quality players for the league to grow.”

The former Akwa United manager said that Nigeria must make an all-round improvement in football management to achieve good performance in the CAF champion League or Confederation Cup competitions.

Plateau Utd, Kano Pillars Crash Out Of Continental Cups

Plateau United crashed out of the CAF Champions League on December 5, 2020.
Plateau United crashed out of the CAF Champions League on December 5, 2020.


Nigeria’s Plateau United on Saturday crashed out of the CAF Champions League after playing a goalless draw with Simba Sports Club of Tanzania.

Plateau United had lost the first leg at home 1-0 to the Tanzanian club.

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Kano Pillars suffered a similar fate in the CAF Confederation Cup after failing to overturn a first-leg deficit against A.S.C Jaraaf of Senegal.

The ‘Sai Masu Gida’ as they are fondly called by their fans played a goalless draw at home and lost out 3-1 on aggregate.

CAF To Discuss Club Fixtures Amid Virus Spike In Morocco

File Photo


African football chiefs will decide Thursday whether to go ahead with CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup matches in Morocco during September amid a coronavirus spike there.

The kingdom is scheduled to host the first legs of the Champions League semi-finals and the Confederation Cup ‘final four’ mini-tournament this month.

Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials are concerned after a rise in Covid-19 cases meant only one Moroccan league match has been played during the first two weeks of September.

At least 12 of the 16 Botola Pro 1 clubs reported positive cases, triggering an order that players must stay in hotels or sport centres rather than returning home after each match.

“A video conference meeting of the executive committee will address several important topics related to the football situation on the continent,” a CAF statement said.

Two senior CAF officials confirmed to AFP that the concluding stages of the Champions League and Confederation Cup competitions will be among the issues on the agenda.

Both Champions League semi-finals involve Moroccan and Egyptian clubs with Raja Casablanca playing Zamalek and Wydad Casablanca meeting Al Ahly.

The first legs are set for September 25 and 26 in Casablanca with the return matches in Egypt on October 2 and 3.

Both Confederation Cup semi-finals are slated for September 22 with Hassania Agadir tackling fellow Moroccans Renaissance Berkane and Pyramids of Egypt confronting Horoya of Guinea.

– Travel difficulties –
Horoya, the only sub-Saharan club among the semi-finalists in the two competitions, have experienced difficulties with travel plans.

“We are considering numerous options to reach Morocco, but it is far from a straightforward situation,” said club president Soufiane Souare.

File photo of CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad.


Ahly and Zamalek reportedly have different opinions on what should happen if CAF decide that the Champions League first legs cannot go ahead as planned in Morocco.

Zamalek president Mortada Mansour told the club website that he would prefer both legs of the semi-finals be played in Egypt rather than be postponed.

“I propose we play the home and away games of the Champions League semi-finals in Egypt. We welcome our fellow Moroccans, for whom we have all the love and appreciation,” he said.

An announcement on Al Ahly TV said the record eight-time African champions would not object to a delay.

“We were planning to play the semi-finals as per the scheduled dates, (but) human and health conditions are more important than a competition,” the Cairo club said.

The semi-finals and finals of both competitions were originally scheduled for May, but could not be played because of the pandemic.


Esperance Fail To Win Third Consecutive CAF Champions League Title

Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed (C-R) presents a red card to an Esperance’s midfielder Mohamed Ben Romdhane (C-L) during the first leg of the CAF Champions League Quarter-final football match between Egypt’s Zamalek and Tunisia’s Esperance at the Cairo International Stadium in the capital on February 28, 2020.


Tunisian club Esperance this weekend became the latest victims of a jinx that has prevented any club winning the CAF Champions League three consecutive times.

Zamalek of Egypt defeated the 2018 and 2019 trophy-holders 3-2 on aggregate in a quarter-final after losing the second leg 1-0 in Tunis Friday.

Esperance joined Al Ahly of Egypt and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo (twice each) and Enyimba of Nigeria as back-to-back title winners who could not complete a treble.

The Tunisians, who also lost to Zamalek in the one-off CAF Super Cup match last month, were hit by a series of suspensions before the second leg of the Champions League clash.

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Coach Moine Chaabani and his deputy, Mejdi Traoui, were banned for four matches and fined for aggressive behaviour, offensive language and threats after a 3-1 first-leg loss in Cairo.

Captain and center-back Khalil Chemmam received a six-match ban and a $40,000 (35,500 euro) fine for spitting at the Moroccan match officials and using offensive language.

Midfielder Abdelraouf Benguit got a four-match suspension and a $20,000 fine for using offensive language against the referees.

Besides the individual sanctions, Esperance were fined $10,000 because their supporters threw flares at the Cairo International Stadium.

Failed CAF Champions League treble bids:


Mazembe (lost 5-3 on aggregate to Ismailia of Egypt in final)


Enyimba (eliminated after finishing third in Group A)


Ahly (lost 3-1 on aggregate to Etoile Sahel of Tunisia in final)


Mazembe (disqualified after round of 32 for fielding ineligible player)


Ahly (lost 4-2 on aggregate to Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya in round of 16)


Esperance (lost 3-2 on aggregate to Zamalek of Egypt in quarter-finals)


DR Congo’s Mazembe Set CAF Champions League Record

DR Congo's Mazembe Set CAF Champions League Record


Democratic Republic of Congo outfit TP Mazembe crushed Tunisian visitors Club Africain 8-0 Saturday to achieve a record winning margin for a CAF Champions League group match. 

The five-time African champions overtook the benchmark set 18 years ago by ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast when they overwhelmed CR Belouizdad of Algeria 7-0 in Abidjan.

Moroccan club Difaa el Jadida hold the record for a single-match winning margin at any stage of the Champions League after overwhelming Benfica of Guinea-Bissau 10-0 last season.

Mazembe ran riot in southern city Lubumbashi just 14 days after suffering a three-goal hiding away to surprise Group C pacesetters CS Constantine of Algeria.

Constantine top the table with six points, Mazembe have three and Club Africain none in a section reduced to three clubs after Ismaily of Egypt were disqualified for crowd violence.

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If Mazembe avoid defeat away to former champions Club Africain in Tunis on February 12 they and Constantine will secure quarter-finals places in the elite African club competition.

The home side netted four times in each half with Kevin Mondeka, Jackson Muleka and veteran Tresor Mputu scoring two each and Mika Miche and Elia Meschak one apiece.

Mazembe are among the favourites to win the Champions League this season along with trophy-holders Esperance of Tunisia, Al Ahly of Egypt and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

Wydad became the first team to win away in Group A with a first-half penalty converted by Mohamed Nahiri earning a 1-0 victory over lacklustre Lobi Stars of Nigeria in Enugu.

– Penalty appeal –

The Moroccans had a genuine penalty appeal rejected by the DR Congo referee before Mohamed Ounajem was fouled and Nahiri sent Olufemi Kayode the wrong way on 19 minutes.

Ahmed Tagnaouti of Wydad was the busier goalkeeper and did well to get down and push away a Yaya Kone header before half-time on a scorching afternoon in southeastern Nigeria.

Wydad squandered a chance to increase their lead midway through the second half when Kayode saved another penalty, this time taken by Ounajem.

Lobi offered little going forward and when they occasionally threatened, Tagnaouti was there to thwart them and ensure the Moroccans retained their advantage.

Mamelodi Sundowns and Wydad have six points with the South Africans occupying first place on head-to-head records having won 2-1 when the clubs met in Pretoria last month.

ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast and Lobi have three points each and need matchday 4 wins on February 12 against the teams they were beaten by this weekend to get back in contention.

Guinean outfit Horoya AC were rewarded for spending a week in Zimbabwe preparing to play FC Platinum when they won 1-0 thanks to a 51st-minute penalty from Marius Assoko in Bulawayo.

Orlando Pirates of South African and Esperance, who clash later Saturday in Soweto, and Horoya have four points each and Platinum just one.

Record eight-time champions and Group D leaders Ahly will also be in action later Saturday, at home to Simba SC from Tanzania in Mediterranean city Alexandria.


CAF Champions League: MFM To Face Real Bamako

Draw for 2018 CAF Champions League preliminary and first rounds made in Cairo Wednesday:

Preliminary round

Saint George (ETH) v Wau Salaam (SSD)

CNaPS Sport (MAD) v KCCA (UGA)

Zanaco (ZAM) v Armed Forces (GAM)

Bantu (LES) v Mbabane Swallows (SWZ)

Stade Malien (MLI) v Williamsville (CIV)

Al Tahaddy (LBA) v Aduana Stars (GHA)

Entente Setif (ALG) v Olympic Real Bangui (CAR)

Kadiogo (BUR) v Mounana (GAB)

Real Bamako (MLI) v MFM (NGR)

Otoho (CGO) v Mouloudia Alger (ALG)

AS FAN (NIG) v Horoya (GUI)

Generation Foot (SEN) v Misr Lel-Makkasa (EGY)

Young Africans (TAN) v Saint Louis (SEY)

Township Rollers (BOT) v Al Merrikh (SUD)

Gor Mahia (KEN) v Leones Vegetarianos (GEQ)

Concorde (MTN) v Esperance (TUN)

Plateau Utd (NGR) v Eding Sport (CMR)

Leopards (CGO) v Port (TOG)

LISCR (LBR) v Al Hilal (SUD)

JKU (ZAN) v Zesco Utd (ZAM)

Benin champions v ASEC Mimosas (CIV)

Ngaya (COM) v Songo (MOZ)

Difaa el Jadidi (MAR) v Benfica (GNB)

V Club (COD) v Mighty Wanderers (MAW)

Primeiro Agosto (ANG) v Platinum (ZIM)

Wits (RSA) v Pamplemousses (MRI)

Rayon Sports (RWA) v LLB Academic (BDI)

First legs: Feb 9–11, second: Feb 16–18

First round

George/Wau v CNaPS/KCCA

Zanaco/Forces v Bantu/Swallows

Wydad Casablanca (MAR, holders) v Malien/Williamsville

Tahaddy/Aduana v Setif/Bangui

Al Ahly (EGY) v Kadiogo/Mounana

Bamako/MFM v Otoho/Alger

FAN/Horoya v Generation/Makkasa

Young Africans/Louis v Rollers/Merrikh

Gor/Leones v Concorde/Esperance

Etoile Sahel (TUN) v Plateau/Eding

Leopards/Port v LISCR/Hilal

JKU/Zesco v Benin/ASEC

TP Mazembe (COD) v Ngaya/Songo

Jadidi/Benfica v V Club/Wanderers

Primeiro/Platinum v Wits/Pamplemousses

Rayon/Academic v Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)

First legs: Mar 9-11, second: Mar 16-18

Note: first round winners qualify for Champions League group stage and firsr round losers enter CAF Confederation Cup


CAF Champions League: Nigeria Put Faith In MFM FC

Mountain of Fire and Miracles Football Club are unlikely to win the 2018 CAF Champions League, but they boast the most eye-catching name among the 58 contenders.

Known as MFM FC in football circles, the Lagos-based team are funded by the popular pentecostal christian organisation Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries.

Nigeria are allocated two places on merit in the elite African club competition and they will be filled by national champions Plateau United and runners-up MFM.

The draw for the preliminary and first rounds of the Champions League will be made in Cairo on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Confederation of African Football.

Mountain of Fire and Miracles, who play in a modest 5,200-seat stadium, boast one of the most striking football club names in Africa.

Others include 11 Men in Flight of Swaziland, Mysterious Dwarfs of Ghana, Chicken Inn of Zimbabwe, Invincible XI of Liberia and Naughty Boys of Botswana.

Nigerians hope Plateau and MFM can go far in a competition where many clubs from the African football powerhouse have made embarrassingly early exits.

Last year, Enugu Rangers and Rivers United failed to get past the first round and into the group phase with the latter surrendering a three-goal first-leg advantage.

Enyimba are the only Nigerian club to win the Champions League, lifting the trophy in 2003 and staging a successful defence the following year.

Alongside record eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, they are the only three clubs to win back-to-back Champions League titles.

Ahly and five-time title-holders Mazembe are among the 58 entrants in a competition won for a second time by Wydad Casablanca of Morocco this year.

They edged Ahly 1-0 in the second leg of the final in Casablanca after exceeding expectations in Alexandria by forcing a 1-1 draw.

Esperance and Etoile Sahel of Tunisia, Entente Setif and Mouloudia Alger of Algeria, ASEC of the Ivory Coast, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa and V Club of DR Congo are other former champions in the field.

AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville, Al Merrikh of Sudan, Gor Mahia of Kenya, Horoya of Guinea and Stade Malien of Mali have won second-tier CAF competitions.

The two-leg preliminary round ties are scheduled for February and the first round for March with the opening group games during May.

It requires 14 or 16 matches to become African champions with the rewards including a $2.5 million (about 2.1 million euro) prize and qualification for the FIFA Club World Cup.


Ahly Score Record Six Goals To Reach CAF Champions League Final

Al-Ahly supporters cheer during the CAF Champions League semi-final football match between Al-Ahly vs Etoile du Sahel at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria on October 22, 2017. STRINGER / AFP

Al Ahly of Egypt became the first club to score six goals in a CAF Champions League semi-final match as they crushed Etoile Sahel of Tunisia 6-2 in Alexandria Sunday to reach the title decider.

The record eight-time champions qualified 7-4 on aggregate to face Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the two-leg final with the first match in Egypt next weekend.

After Etoile established a 2-1 first-leg lead in Tunisia last month, the return match at the 85,000-seat Borg El Arab Stadium was expected to an equally tight affair.

But it took Ahly just two minutes to grab the lead at home with Tunisian Ali Maaloul slamming a free-kick past experienced goalkeeper Ayman Mathlouthi.

Moroccan Walid Azaro headed two goals off crosses to earn Ahly a 3-0 half-time advantage and he completed a hat-trick just three minutes into the second half.

Rami Bedoui pulled one goal back for rattled one-time Champions League title-holders Etoile before rampant Ahly scored twice more.

Hamdi Nagguez conceded an own-goal and Rami Rabia made it 6-1 just past the hour mark to give Ahly a place in the record books.

Iheb Msakni scored a second Etoile goal a minute from time, but it was irrelevant as Ahly had already booked a place in the final.

Achraf Bencharki bagged a brace as Wydad defeated USM Alger of Algeria 3-1 in Casablanca Saturday after a goalless first leg last month.

The elite African club competition was known as the African Cup of Champions Clubs from 1964 until 1997 when the name was changed to the CAF Champions League.