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CAF Champions League

Rivers United Awaits Confederation Cup Foes

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Two former winners in CAF’s inter-clubs competitions will on Wednesday star in the draw for the league segment of the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup.

They are Egypt’s Wael Gomaa and DR Congo’s Tresor Mputu Mabi. The www.sportsvillagesquare.com gathered that CAF chose them for their exploits in the continental clubs competitions.

Gomaa and Mputu are famous names with the African Club Championships, having lifted the Holy Grail of continental club football at least once. The 41 year old Gomaa, who retired in 2014, won unprecedented six CAF Champions League titles with Egyptian giants, Al Ahly in 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2013, as well as five CAF Super Cup titles.

The rugged defender was a member of the Ahly ‘golden generation’ together with the likes of Essam El Hadary, Mohamed Aboutreika, Mohamed Barakat and Shady Mohamed that dominated African football at their peak.

He also bagged over 100 appearances with the Egypt national team appearing in five successive finals of the Africa Cup of Nations – 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010; and being on the victorious side three times – 2006, 2008 and 2010.

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The www.sportsvillagesquare.com  also gathered that Congolese Mputu who is 31, is undoubtedly one of the most skillful players of his generation domestically and beyond.

Top scorer in the continental club championships with 43 goals, he remains an iconic figure in his native DR Congo especially with Lubumbashi outfit, TP Mazembe, where he is idolized.

He was one of the pillars behind the rise to fame of Mazembe in the mid 2000’s guiding them to CAF Champions League glory in 2009 and the CAF Super Cup same year.

After a brief stint with Kabuscorp of Angola, he rejoined ‘Les Corbeaux’ in late 2016 and has continued to impress.

The offensive mid fielder was also revelation of the maiden edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cote d’Ivoire, where he was adjudged the Most Valuable Player as DR Congo won the title.

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The two players will assist CAF Acting General Secretary, Essam Ahmed, to conduct the draw to be attended by officials of the participating clubs.

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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CAF Champions League

BREAKING: CAF adopts Yoruba name, “Ola” for official match ball!

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Confederation of African Football, CAF, has adopted a Nigerian language name of its official match ball for the interclubs competitions. Ahead of this weekend’s blockbuster line-up that sees Africa’s top clubs battle for  CAF Confederation Cup and CAF Champions League top honours, the confederation and its matchball producers, PUMA have unveiled a new match ball called “OLA.”

 In a press statement, CAF explains that “OLA,” means “wealth,” “honour,” and “respect” in Yoruba, and “rise” and “success” in Arabic. It explained that the name was chosen to symbolize the dynamic and energetic nature of African football.

Embodying the spirit of Africa, Ola’s design is inspired by the continent’s vibrant colours, art, and traditions.

OLA will be used this weekend – starting in Tunis when Espérance Sportive de Tunis hosts Al Ahly of Egypt in the first leg of the  CAF Champions League Final and on Sunday when Zamalek hosts RS Berkane in the second leg of the  CAF Confederation Cup final at the Cairo International Stadium. 

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CAF Champions League

Al Ahly to face Esperance in African Champions League final

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Ahly, Wydad set for Mundial de Clubes FIFA debut – Sundowns, Esperance eyeing other slots

Defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt will take on perennial rivals Esperance of Tunisia in this year’s African Champions League final after winning their semi-finals on Friday.

Al Ahly, who have won five of the last seven editions and a record 11 in total, overcame TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Cairo and Esperance pulled off a surprise 1-0 win over South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria.

Al Ahly won 3-0 after a goalless draw in the first leg in Lubumbashi for a comfortable aggregate triumph while Esperance’s 20-year-old defender Raed Bouchniba hammered home a clinical shot in the 57th minute to earn the Tunisians a 1-0 away win and 2-0 aggregate victory.

The match was delayed by 70 minutes after a lightning strike in South Africa’s capital knocked out some of the floodlights amid a heavy thunderstorm.

Sundowns won the new African Football League this season and were one of the favourites for the Champions League but fell short of the final for an eighth season in a row.

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Esperance’s 20-year-old goalkeeper Amanallah Memmich produced fine saves as the South African forwards fluffed their lines and the win also ensured a place for Esperance in next year’s Club World Cup in the U.S.

Al Ahly took until the 68th minute to break the deadlock against Mazembe when defender Mohamed Abdel-Moneim scored.

Wessam Abou Ali added a second in the 83rd minute, stretching out his leg to apply a clever finish and Akram Tawfiq confirmed their superiority with a stoppage-time third.

Esperance host the first leg of the final on May 18 with the return in Cairo seven days later.

Esperance won the last of their four Champions League titles in 2019 and have been runners-up four times.

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CAF Champions League narrows to four teams

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CAF Champions League Quarter-Finals journey mapped out

From the original 54 teams from 42 countries that began the race last year, the CAF Champions League has now narrowed to four teams as a whopping 50 have been eliminated.

The four elite clubs in the semi-finals are Al Ahly of Egypt, Esperance Sportive de Tunis of Tunisia, South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns and TP Mazembe of DR Congo.

Title holders and record champions Al Ahly are still on track to defend their title as they beat Simba SC in Cairo to secure their place while four-time winners Esperance Sportive de Tunis were made to labour hard against Asec Mimosas of Cote d’Ivoire.

The reigning African Football League (“AFL”) Champions and 2025/16 winners Mamelodi Sundowns were pushed to the end by Tanzania’s Young Africans in South Africa.

Five-time winners TP Mazembe of DR Congo pulled one of the best performances this weekend with a 2-1 away win over Atletico Petroleos of Luanda after the first leg ended goalless.

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The semis will be played on home and away basis on 19-20 April 2024 (first leg) with the Second Leg scheduled for 26-27 April 2024.

In the first semi-final, Al Ahly (Egypt) will play TP Mazembe (DR Congo) in what promises to be a thrilling encounter.  Esperance Sportive de Tunis will play Mamelodi Sundowns in the second semi-final.

CAF will announce the dates and kick-off dates in due course.

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