CAF Champions League Final | Fact sheet: Al Ahly and Wydad Athletic Club

Egyptian giants Al Ahly head to 2021/22 CAF Champions League final against Moroccan hosts Wydad Athletics Club on Monday May 30 thrilled to be about to create the story, but furious at the choice of location.

Kick-off is at 21:00 (SA time).

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Al Ahly are among four teams to have won the prestigious African club competition twice in a row since its debut in 1964, but all fell short trying to secure a third straight win.

After failing in 2007 and 2014, the Cairo Red Devils get a third chance after wins over fellow Egyptians Zamalek and South Africans Kaiser Chiefs in the previous two title makers.

But hopes for further glory suffered a blow when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) controversially decided to stage the final at the Stade Mohammed V, home of Wydad.

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CAF said Morocco and Senegal were the only countries to bid to host the highlight of the African club calendar and the West Africans later pulled out, without giving an explanation.

Angry Al Ahly officials asked the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) – the sport’s highest legal body – to force CAF to choose a neutral venue instead, but the appeal failed.

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Playing in Casablanca means Wydad will have the support of around 35,000 supporters in a crowd limited to 45,000 – two-thirds the capacity.

Wydad fans are some of the most passionate and supportive in Africa with their boundless energy allowing them to sing, cheer and dance whenever their heroes have the ball and boo when their opponents have it.

However, Al Ahly’s South African coach Pitso Mosimane believes his side can succeed and win the competition for the 11th time since first conquering the continent 40 years ago.

“I want to win every competition Ahly takes part in. Our millions of supporters expect nothing less,” he told Egyptian media.

Pitso Mosimane looks at history with Al Ahly

“(Portuguese coach) Manuel Jose coached Ahly several times and achieved a lot, but he couldn’t win all the competitions.

“I don’t know if I can top him in terms of the number of titles won by Ahly, but I will definitely try.”

Jose was lucky enough to coach Ahly’s greatest team of them all – a 2005-2008 squad featuring three Egyptian legends, goalkeeper Essam el Hadary, defender Wael Gomaa and midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika.

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Jose holds the coaching record for CAF club titles with eight – four Champions Leagues and four Super Cups – and Mosimane is second with six.

What the Portuguese couldn’t achieve was three consecutive Champions League titles, so Mosimane has a chance to create history in Casablanca.

Apart from his two successes with Al Ahly, the 57-year-old former South African striker has led Mamelodi Sunsets to CAF Champions League glory in 2016.

Wydad and Al Ahly have faced each other five times in Casablanca and the honors are tied with two wins each and a draw.

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The most recent encounter was the 2020 semi-final first leg, won 2-0 by Al Ahly thanks to goals from Mohamed ‘Afsha’ Magdy and Ali Maaloul.

Tunisia’s Maaloul, a stylish left-back who loves going forward, is set to start on Monday but attacking midfielder Magdy could be among the replacements.

Although six-goal Mohamed Sherif is Al Ahly’s top scorer in this CAF Champions League campaign, Mosimane usually starts with a South African strike force. Percy TauTaher Mohamed and Ahmed Abdel Kader.

France-born Wydad coach Walid Regragui says a tight domestic and CAF schedule has led to injuries but hopes defender Achraf Dari and midfielder Jalal Daoudi will be fit.

Seasoned midfielder Yahya Jabrane captains the Moroccan side and a powerful right foot has helped him become Chateau Rouge’s top scorer in Africa with five goals.

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Al Ahly head to the CAF Champions League final against Wydad Athletic Club on the brink of history but furious at the choice of venue. Photo: Twitter @AlAhlyEnglish

CAF Champions League finalists Al Ahly of Egypt Fact Sheet:

Formed: 1907

Home grounds: Cairo International Stadium (capacity: 75,000) and Al Salam Stadium (30,000)

Popular name: Red Devils

Possible team (EGY unless otherwise indicated): Mohamed el Shenawy (capt); Mohamed Hany, Mohamed Abdelmonem, Yasser Ibrahim, Ali Maaloul (TUN); Hussein el Shahat, Hamdy Fathy, Aliou Dieng (MLI); Taher Mohamed, Percy Tau (RSA), Ahmed Abdel Kader

Coach: Pitso Mosimane (RSA)

Road to the final: Round of 16: National Guard (NIG) 6-1 at home, 1-1 away; Group A: Al Hilal (SUD) 1-0 0-0, Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA) 0-1 0-1, Al Merrikh (SUD) 3-2 3-1; Quarter-finals: Raja Casablanca (MAR) 2-1 1-1; Semi-finals: Entente Sétif (ALG) 4-0 2-2

Scorers: 6 – Mohamed Sherif; 3 – El Shahat, Tau; 2 – Abdel Kader, Mohamed “Afsha” Magdy; 1 – Abdelmonem, El Soulia, Fathy, Mahmoud Kahraba, Maaloul, Mohamed, Mustafa Karshoum (Merrikh) – own goal

Previous Champions League appearances: 1998 – first round, 1999 – Group A, 2000 – Group B, 2001 – champions, 2002 – Group A, 2004 – first round, 2005 – champions, 2006 – champions, 2007 – runners-up, 2008 – champions, 2009 – second round, 2010 – semi-finals, 2011 – Group B, 2012 – champions, 2013 – champions, 2014 – second round, 2015 – second round, 2016 – Group A, 2017 – runners-up, 2018 – runners-up , 2019 – quarter-finals, 2020 – champions, 2021 – champions

CAF Champions League Finalists Fact Sheet Wydad Athletic Club du Maroc:

Formed: 1937

Home ground: Stade Mohammed V (capacity: 67,000)

Popular name: Red Castle

Possible team (MAR unless otherwise indicated): Ahmed Tagnaouti; Ayoub el Amloud, Achraf Dari, Amine Farhane, Yahia Attiyat Allah; Badie Aouk, Jalal Daoudi, Yahya Jabrane (captain), Reda Jaadi; Ayman el-Hassouni; Guy Mbenza (CGO)

Coach: Walid Regragui (FRA)

Road to the final: Round of 32: Hearts of Oak (GHA) 6-1 home, 0-1 away; Group D: Sagrada Esperança (ANG) 3-0 2-1, Petro Luanda (ANG) 5-1 1-2, Zamalek (EGY) 3-1 1-0; Quarter-finals: Chabab Belouizdad (ALG) 0-0 1-0; Semi-finals: Petro 1-1 3-1

Scorers: 5 – Jabrane; 3 – Dari, Zouhair el Moutaraji, Mbenza; 2 – El Hassouni, Farhane, Simon Msuva (TAN), Juvhel Tsoumou (CGO); 1 – Daoudi, Muaid Ellafi (LBA), Anas Serrhat, Tiago Azulao (Petro) own goal

Previous Champions League appearances: 2007 – second round, 2011 – second, 2016 – semi-final, 2017 – champion, 2018 – quarter-final, 2019 – second, 2020 – semi-final, 2021 – semi-final

Summary of the confrontations in the CAF Champions League between Al Ahly and Wydad Athletic Club:

2011

Group B

Wydad 1 Ahly 1; Ahly 3 Wydad 3

2016

group A

Wydad 0 Ahly 1; Ahly 0 Wydad 0

2017

Group D

Wydad 2 Ahly 0; Ahly 2 Wydad 0

Final

Wydad 1 Ahly 0; Ahly 1 Wydad 1

2020

Semi final

Wydad 0 Ahly 2; Ahly 3 Wydad 1

Full list of CAF Champions League title winners:

10: Al-Ahly (EGY)

5: TP Mazembe (COD), Zamalek (EGY)

4: Expectancy (TUN)

3: Canon Yaoundé (CMR), Hafia (GUI), Raja Casablanca (MAR)

2: Entente Sétif, JS Kabylie (ALG), Asante Kotoko (GHA), Enyimba (NGR), Wydad Casablanca (MAR)

1: ASEC Mimosas, Stade Abidjan (both CIV), Club Africain, Etoile Sahel (both TUN), Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates (both RSA)Oryx Douala, Union Douala (both CMRs), Mouloudia Alger (ALG), CARA (CGO), FAR Rabat (MAR), Hearts of Oak (GHÁ), Ismaily (EGY), V Club (COD)

By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse

Al Ahly head to the CAF Champions League final against Wydad Athletic Club on the brink of history but furious at the choice of venue. Photo: Twitter @AlAhlyEnglish

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