More Ahly, Raja

Alaa Abdel-Ghani
Tuesday 11 Apr 2023

Record 10-time champions Ahly of Egypt and Morocco’s Raja Casablanca face off in the quarter-finals of the African Champions League for a second consecutive season after the two North African rivals were paired in last week’s draw

 

The two sides also faced off at the same stage last season with the Egyptians winning 3-2 on aggregate after a 2-1 victory at home and a 1-1 draw in Casablanca, reports Alaa Abdel-Ghani.

The quarter-finals are scheduled for the weekend of 21-22 April and the return fixtures a week later.

Ahly will host the first leg in Cairo.

The semis will be played on 12-13 May with the second leg a week later.

Should Ahly progress to the semi-finals, they will face either JS Kabylie of Algeria or Esperance of Tunisia who will face off in another tie.

Raja were unbeaten in the competition this season while Ahly squeezed through to the last eight on the last day of the group stages.

Meanwhile, defending champions Wydad Casablanca will face off against Tanzanian side Simba SC, with the first leg set to be staged in Dar es-Salaam.

In other fixtures, 2016 champions Mamelodi Sundowns go up against CR Belouizdad with the first leg of their quarter final in Algeria.

JS Kabylie will host Esperance in the first leg of this North African duel.

In the second-tier African Confederation Cup, Pyramids of Egypt were handed a relatively easy draw in the quarters-finals, drawn with debutants Marumo Gallants of South Africa.

The Egyptian side will play the first leg in Cairo on Sunday 23 April before playing the second leg in South Africa one week later.

The winner of the game will face the winner of the match between Nigeria’s Rivers United and Young Africans of Tanzania.

Pyramids reached the final of the Confederation Cup in their maiden participation in 2020 before losing to Morocco’s RS Berkane. In 2021 they lost in the semi-final while in 2022 they were eliminated from the competition’s quarters.

Founded in only 2021, Gallants reached the quarters after leading Group A with 12 points, one point ahead of USMA of Algeria.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football deducted six points from Egypt’s Future football club in the group stage of the Confederation Cup for allowing an illegitimate player to participate.

Ahmed Refaat featured with Future in the preliminary round of the Confederation Cup before he was loaned out to the UAE’s Al-Wahda.

However, the 29-year-old was recalled from his loan in the January transfer window and was included in Future’s squad for their games against AS FAR, ASKO Kara, and Pyramids without being re-registered in the club’s squad for the continental competition.

Future were already eliminated from the Confederation Cup after losing to Pyramids on the final match day of the group stage.

Pyramids and AS FAR had initially sent an official complaint about Future.

CAF also imposed a $10,000 fine on Future.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 13 April, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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