Semis beckon

Alaa Abdel-Ghani , Tuesday 16 Apr 2024

Egypt’s two best known football clubs are about to enter the semi-finals of their respective African championships, reports Alaa Abdel-Ghani

The African Champions League

 

Ahly of Egypt and TP Mazembe of the DR Congo are all set to play the first leg of the semi-final of the African Champions League.

The game will be played on 20 April in the Congo.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s other famed team, Zamalek, will face off against Dreams FC of Ghana in the second-tier African Confederation Cup in Cairo on 21 April. The match will also be the first leg of the semi-final.

Egypt thus have two powerhouse teams in the semi-finals of the two most important African club football tournaments.

Ahly are the defending champions of the Champions League and have won the tournament a record 11 times. They blew past Simba of Tanzania 3-0 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.

TP Mazembe advanced thanks to their 2-1 aggregate win over Petro Luanda of Angola.

In 2015, Mazembe secured the last of their five Champions League crowns.

The return leg from this week’s encounter is expected to be played on 26 April.

In the other semi-final, Esperance of Tunisia will do battle with Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.

In the semi-finals of the Confederation Cup, akin to the Europa League, Zamalek host debutantes Dreams of Ghana. The second leg is slated for 28 April.

Dreams were the first to secure a place in the last four of the tournament after overcoming former champions Stade Malien in Kumasi thanks to a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Zamalek took care of fellow Egyptians Modern Future 2-1 and 1-1 in the quarter-finals.

Zamalek won the Confederation Cup in 2019. Dreams, on the other hand, will make history by being in their very first Confederation Cup.

They also become the first Ghanaian club in 20 years to reach the knockout stages of an African interclub competition.

Dreams were only formed in 2009 and were promoted to the second level of the Ghanaian soccer league system in only 2014.

The other semi-final pits defending champion USM Alger of Algeria against two-time champions Renaissance Berkane of Morocco.

 


* A version of this article appears in print in the 18 April, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

 

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