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CAF Champions League

EGYPT’S AL AHLY SET TO RECONFIRM CONTINENTAL DOMINACE

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When Egyptian giants, Al Ahly, enter the pitch on Friday for the 2018 CAF Champions League final encounter against North African rivals Esperance of Tunisia, the Red Devils will be backing on the decent form of their veteran winger Walid Soliman.nn nnSince joining Al Ahly from domestic side ENPPI in 2011, Soliman enjoyed Champions League glory with the club in 2012 and 2013.nn nnHe scored the decisive goal in the aggregate 3-2 victory over Esperance when both sides clashed in the 2012 final.nn nnSoliman also won three more CAF titles with the club, namely 2 CAF Super Cups (2013 and 2014) and the 2014 CAF Confederation Cup.nn nnBut it’s this year that saw Soliman rising to “No. 1 star” rank within the Red Devils squad. After seeing legend Mohamed Abu Treika retiring in 2013, Soliman did his job well, but being overshadowed by the likes of Emad Moteab, Abdullah Elsaid and others.nn nnThis year saw Moteab also retiring, with Elsaid shifting his career to Saudi Arabia to similar name bearers Al Ahly of Jeddah.nn nnSoliman scored in the 1/16th round against CF Mounana of Gabon, then missed a penalty in the 2-0 defeat at Uganda’s KCCA that saw Ahly deemed to bottom of their mini league stage group. But since French coach Patrica Carteron arrived, the 33 years old winger proved to be the team’s superstar.nn nnA goal against Horoya of Guinea in the quarterfinals, and two more in both legs against Algeria’s ES Setif in the semis, in addition to two more assists proved Soliman to be the “Top Gun” within Ahly ranks this term. and he remains the fans favorite as his side prepares to their second successive appearance in the final, hoping to better their runner-ups finish last year.nn nn”I always do my best for the team. I never think of personal achievements, just the welfare of the team concerns me all the time”, said Soliman who is considered one of the team veterans, alongside skipper Hossam Ahsour and right back Ahmed Fathy.nn nnStarting his career as a left full back with Haras El Hodood in 2004, Soliman moved to then second tier side El Gouna in the next season, before moving to Suez based Petrojet in 2006.nn nnProving his quality there, he was always linked to a move to his childhood beloved club Al Ahly, but that was never turned into reality.nn nnHe has a stint abroad in Saudi Arabia with Al Ahly Jeddah, before moving to ENPPI in 2010, after his former club refused several transfer requests from the Red Devils then.nn nn”I almost had a nervous breakdown. Before a league game against Al Ahly with ENPPI, Ahly supporters called me and chanted my name, I was almost in tears. But I did my best with ENPPI, and at the end of the 2010-11 season, my dream finally came true”, added Soliman who had 27 caps with The Pharaohs.nn nnIn August 2011 Soliman joined Al Ahly for a reported 1.2 million US dollars fee then. And he never failed to win the hearts of die-hard Ahly fans. In seven seasons with the club, he won 4 Egyptian Premier League titles, 1 Egypt Cup, 4 Egypt Super Cups, plus five CAF titles (2 CAF Champions League titles, 1 CAF Confederation Cup and 2 CAF Super Cup trophies).nn nnBut this year means a lot more to the “No. 11” shirt holder, as he wishes for another Champions League glory in the infamous red shirt. “I am an Ahly supporter before being a team player.nn nn“We will do our best to win the trophy as a gift for our beloved fans”, concluded Soliman.

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CAF Champions League

Ahly crowned champions of Africa for record-extending 12th title

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Ahly’s Mohamed Elshenawy holds aloft the CAF Champions League trophy after a 1-0 defeat of Tunisia’s Esperance at the Cairo International Stadium.

The Egyptians have again scored a remarkable double, winning both the CAF Confederation Cup and the CAF Champions League.

Serial champions, Al Ahly have once again reigned supreme as kings of African club football, following their CAF Champions League final 1-0 win over Tunisia’s Esperance Sportive de Tunis at a packed to the rafters Cairo International Stadium on Saturday evening.

Their victory follows that of their rival Cairo club, Zamalek who the week before won the CAF Confederation Cup. Thus, the Super Cup will be an all-Cairo and Egypt tussle.

Saturday’s win was the Al Ahly’s  12th  CAF Champions League title and the fourth time they are lifting the continent’s most prestigious title in succession – a feat that rubber stamps their authority as African football club kings.

The win on Saturday also marks 20  CAF Champions League matches without a loss for the champions. They also finish the campaign with the best defensive record, with just a single goal conceded in this season.

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Following a goalless stalemate in Rades last week, the Egyptians with the backing of a highly vocal Cairo International Stadium went into the clash with a slight advantage over the four-time African champions who have been in desperate search for an elusive fifth title since 2019.

Ahly’s only goal of the match came courtesy of an unfortunate own goal by Roger Aholou after a header by Ramy Moustafa came off the inside of defender’s leg to beat young goalkeeper, Amenallah Memmiche in the 4th minute.

Played at an electrifying pace under the Cairo stars, both sides had an equal go at each other throughout the encounter, with attack after attack being thwarted by equally solid defending.

A glaring chance for Esperance came in the 52nd minute when TKA’s low drive almost caught Mostafa Shobeir off guard, who was fortunate to see the strike go inches wide.

The Tunisians, with momentum on their side almost levelled matters just after the hour mark after the Brazilian duo of Yan Sasse and Rodrigo Silva concluded with Sasse striking a beautiful curler that went just wide off target.

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Ahly almost doubled their lead when Emam Ashour dribbled past two defenders to unleash a potent strike that was fisted away by the keeper.

Coming on to bring in his experience, the ever-green Afsha almost made it two in the 87th minute with a well taken free kick that came off the bar in what could have been a wonder strike by the marksman.

It eventually ended 1-0 in favour of the club of the century who were crowned champions of Africa once again in front of their home fans in Cairo.

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CAF Champions League

CAF Champions League Final in Cairo sold out in two hours!

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The CAF Champions League second leg Final between Al Ahly and Espérance Sportive de Tunis in Cairo, Egypt, on Saturday 25 May 2024 was sold out in two hours paving a way for what is expected to be a thrilling finale between two of Africa’s biggest Clubs.

The match will kick off at 20h00 in Cairo (17h00 GMT).

The huge demand for the match underscores the ever growing interest in African Club Football and has necessitated CAF together with the Host Club, Al Ahly to strengthen Safety and Security plans in and around the Cairo International Stadium.

Over 90 countries will watch the Final in different parts of the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa, MENA, Europe, America and South Pacific. 

Football supporters from all over the world will be able to watch the final in their language and on several CAF platforms.

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Leading the global broadcasters are CAF’s traditional partners: beIN Sport (MENA, Europe, America, South Pacific), Canal+ and New World TV.

In Africa, a number of free-to-air broadcasters will show the Final including SABC, Azam Media, AfroSport and many others.

Al Ahly are unbeaten in their last 19 CAF Champions League matches (W12 D7), keeping 16 clean sheets and conceding just three goals.

Espérance Sportive de Tunis are unbeaten in their last five CAF Champions League knockout round matches without conceding (W2 D3); they last kept six consecutive clean sheets in such matches in October 2012.

Espérance Sportive de Tunis will be looking to win the competition for the first time since 2019, when they beat Wydad AC to secure a second consecutive title.

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Al Ahly will be looking to make it 11 successes for Egyptian sides in the CAF Champions League final (more than twice as many as other nation), while Espérance Sportive de Tunis can secure Tunisia their fifth success in the competition, which will be the outright second-most.

For the final, fans can start engaging and being a part of the ongoing conversation using #TotalEnergiesCAFCL.

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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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