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Five AFCON 2023 Stars Ready To Illuminate CAF Champions League –

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Five AFCON 2023 Stars Ready To Illuminate CAF Champions League -

The dust has barely settled on the electrifying Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023, but the football fervour continues unabated as the CAF Champions League resumes action this weekend. 

With the continent still buzzing from the AFCON spectacle in Cote d’Ivoire, fans eagerly anticipate seeing their favourite stars transition from international glory to club success.

Among the plethora of talent showcased at AFCON 2023, several players plying their trade on the continent stood out with their exceptional performances – despite the tournament being dominated by Europe-based players – leaving an indelible mark on the tournament.

As the CAF Champions League recommences, attention turns to these standout performers, poised to carry their momentum into club competition.

Here are the top five players from the  AFCON 2023 set to light up the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League:

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  1. Ronwen Williams (GK) – Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa

The hero of South Africa’s bronze medal triumph, Ronwen Williams, proved his mettle between the sticks with breathtaking saves throughout AFCON 2023. As captain of both Mamelodi Sundowns and the South Africa national team, Williams’ commanding presence and shot-stopping prowess earned him the title of the tournament’s best goalkeeper. His heroics, notably in the quarter-finals penalty shootout against Cape Verde, cemented his status as one of Africa’s premier goalkeepers.

  1. Teboho Mokoena (MF) – Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa

Teboho Mokoena’s midfield mastery was instrumental in South Africa’s AFCON journey, earning him a coveted spot in the tournament’s Best XI. The Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder showcased his versatility, contributing both defensively and offensively with flair and finesse. His highlight moment, a sublime free-kick in South Africa’s stunning victory over Morocco, underscored his importance to both club and country.

  1. Henock Inonga (DF) – Simba SC & DR Congo

Forming a formidable defensive partnership for DR Congo, Henock Inonga’s commanding presence at the back was instrumental in the Leopards’ fourth-place finish at AFCON 2023. Representing Simba SC at the club level, Inonga’s solid performances showcased his ability to thwart opposition attacks and marshal his defensive line with authority. His leadership and defensive nous will be crucial assets as Simba SC resumes their African Champions League campaign.

  1. Gilberto Deivi Miguel (FW) – Petro Atletico & Angola

Gilberto Deivi Miguel’s attacking flair shone bright for Angola at AFCON 2023, despite their quarter-final exit. The Petro Atletico forward showcased his predatory instincts and offensive prowess, providing a constant threat to opposition defenses. At just 22 years old, Miguel’s potential is limitless, and his performances at both club and international level mark him as one to watch in the African Champions League.

  1. Djigui Diarra (GK) – Young Africans & Mali

As the custodian of Mali’s goal, Djigui Diarra’s shot-stopping heroics were pivotal in guiding the Malian Eagles to the quarter-finals of AFCON 2023. Representing Young Africans at the club level, Diarra’s agility and reflexes were on full display throughout the tournament, earning him plaudits for his commanding presence between the posts. His performances for both club and country make him a key figure to watch as the African Champions League action resumes.

With these standout performers ready to grace the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON 2023 stage, fans can expect an exhilarating blend of skill, passion, and drama as the quest for continental glory resumes.

As the CAF AFCON 2023 legacy lives on, the stage is set for these top talents to shine on club football’s grandest stage.

CAF Champions League Match Day 5 Fixtures:

Friday, 23 February

  • 16h00 GMT | Al-Hilal – Petro de Luanda
  • 16h00 GMT | Medeama – Al Ahly SC
  • 19h00 GMT | Asec Mimosas – Simba SC

Saturday, 24 February

  • 13h00 GMT | Jwaneng Galaxy – Wydad AC
  • 13h00 GMT | TP Mazembe – Pyramids FC
  • 16h00 GMT | Nouadhibou – Mamelodi Sundowns FC
  • 16h00 GMT | Young Africans – CR Belouizdad
  • 19h00 GMT | ES Sahel – ES Tunis

-CAF

 

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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

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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Ahly Edge Closer To CL Semifinals With Narrow Victory Over Simba –

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Ahly Edge Closer To CL Semifinals With Narrow Victory Over Simba -

Egyptian giants Ahly took a significant stride towards securing a spot in the CAF Champions League semifinals following their hard-fought 1-0 win against Tanzania’s Simba on Friday, thanks to an early goal by midfielder Ahmed “Koka” Nabil.

Right from the start, the hosts launched relentless attacks, aiming to find an early breakthrough. However, Ahly’s resolute and well-organized defense thwarted all of their attempts.

Simba’s first notable chance came when midfielder Sadio Kanouté headed a cross from Clatous Chama following a corner, but his effort sailed over the bar from close range.

Just four minutes into the game, Ahly defender Mohamed Hany found himself in possession on the right side of Simba’s field. He cut inside and delivered a cross that was mishandled by the defense, leading to a powerful shot from Koka. The ball ricocheted off the head of the Simba goalkeeper, struck the post, and ultimately found the back of the net.

Despite Simba’s control of the match, as they pushed forward in search of an equalizer, Ahly’s solid defense and the heroics of goalkeeper Mostafa Shobier denied them any scoring opportunities. Ahly relied on swift counterattacks but their attempts to extend their lead fell short.

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Shobier produced a magnificent save in the 39th minute, blocking Che Malone’s right-footed shot from the center of the box. He came to the rescue again just before halftime, denying Sadio Kanouté’s right-footed shot from the right side of the box and turning it into a corner.

In injury time, Shobier made another brilliant save, stopping Saïdi Ntibazonkiza’s close-range effort, which rebounded to Shomari Kapombe, who shot the ball high over the bar.

In the second half, Simba continued to dominate proceedings but failed to find the equalizing goal despite their persistent efforts.

Ahly coach Marcel Koller made a tactical double substitution in the 67th minute, introducing Reda Slim for Hussein El-Shahat and Taher Mohamed Taher in place of Percy Tau.

The move injected new energy into Ahly’s attack, with the Moroccan talisman creating two opportunities for the Red Devils.

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Koller later made another double substitution, bringing on Kahraba for Modeste and Afsha for Attia.

In injury time, Kahraba had a chance to extend Ahly’s lead when he received a long ball from Afsha, but he struggled to control it. A minute later, Kahraba received a cross from Slim and entered the box, but once again his finishing touch eluded him.

With this narrow victory, Ahly now hold the advantage and move closer to securing a spot in the semifinals, with the second leg taking place in Cairo on Friday.

-Ahram

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Oldest Club In Tunisia Looking At Reclaiming Continental Glory –

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Oldest Club In Tunisia Looking At Reclaiming Continental Glory -
  • Esperance Sportive de Tunis celebrating 105 years of existence
  • Four continental titles to their name and looking to add their fifth
  • Miguel Cardoso to possibly end continental trophy drought

 

It has been almost five years since Tunisian giants, Esperance Sportive de Tunis tasted continental success when they lifted the CAF Champions League trophy.

What was their fifth CAF Champions League title, has since been their last and for their high standards, this is something the Tunisians will be looking at overturning this season, starting with the two-legged Quarter-Finals clash with former champions Asec Mimosas of Cote d’Ivoire.

With more than a 100-year history, the oldest club in Tunisia famous for its red and yellow is certainly one to look out for in this season’s edition of the CAF Champions League as they kick start their knockout stage on Friday 29 March with the return leg in Abidjan scheduled for 05 April.

Brief History

Esperance Sportive de Tunis was formed in 1919 and is regarded as the oldest football club in Tunisia, with 105 years to their rich history. They play their home matches at the Stade Hammadi Agrebi in Brades which boasts 60 000 capacity seating.

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Local titles

Esperance Tunis is considered the most decorated club in Tunisia, having won the local league title 32 times, the Tunisian Cup 15 times, and the Tunisian Super Cup 6 times.

Continental journey

The Tunisians have four CAF Champions League titles as well as one CAF Super Cup which dates back to 1995.

 

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Coach: Miguel Cardoso

Esperance appointed Portuguese coach, Miguel Cardoso in January. The 51-year-old brings a wealth of experience to the club, having worked in several clubs as an assistant coach. These include Braga SC, Sporting Lisbon, Deportivo La Coruña and Shakhtar Donetsk.

 

Key player: Mohamed Amin Tougai

The Algerian defender, Mohamed Amine Tougai, is considered the pillar of strength in the Tunisian defense since joining the club back in 2019. Strong and good in arial duels, Tougai will be instrumental in helping his team keep clean sheets in these crucial stages of the competition.

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-CAF

 

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