Esperance can upset Al Ahly to claim CAF Champions League title, says Mohamed Ouahabi

Former Tunisia international Mohamed Ouahabi (42) is optimistic that Esperance can defeat Al Ahly to win the CAF Champions League title on Saturday evening.

The Egyptians bolstered their chances of securing a record 12th African title with a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the final at Stade Hammadi Agrebi. In Tunis, opportunities were scarce, with only one shot on target out of a total of 20 attempts.

Given that Al Ahly are unbeaten in their last 19 CAF Champions League matches, with 16 clean sheets and only three goals conceded, they are favoured to emerge victorious at the Cairo International Stadium.

However, Ouahabi, who won the competition twice as a player, feels differently. He believes his former team has the ability to stun the hosts in front of their fans.

“It is too early for Al Ahly to celebrate because this is football, where the unthinkable happens. If they could secure a draw in Tunis, who says Esperance cannot achieve a good result in Cairo as well?” Ouahabi told Flashscore.

“Al Ahly may be the defending champions with their fans cheering them from the start, but they should remember that football is played on the pitch, not in newspapers or on social media.

"Esperance has a strong pedigree in African football and are not pushovers. They have a knack for delivering when they seem down and out. I expect an explosive and interesting final, and I hope that after 90 minutes of action, my former team will be crowned champions of Africa.

“This encounter is more than just a final; it is a classic African football derby. I am confident that Miguel Cardoso and his team understand the significance of this game and will give their best effort to emerge victorious.

“They must avoid conceding early goals and minimize mistakes in their own half, or they risk being punished for it.”

The first-leg stats
The first-leg statsFlashscore

Follow the second leg on Flashscore.

Esperance are unbeaten in their last five CAF Champions League knockout round matches without conceding a goal; the last time they kept six consecutive clean sheets in such matches was in October 2012.

They aim to secure their fifth tournament victory in history. Their most recent triumph was in 2019 when they defeated Morocco’s Wydad to claim their second consecutive title.

He continued: "Many doubted Esperance's chances of reaching this stage of the competition due to the quality of clubs participating.

"Credit must be given to the club management, players, and coaches for this accomplishment. Whether they win the title or not, they have performed admirably, providing a strong foundation to build on in the coming year.

"I would love to see them play with the same determination they showed against Mamelodi Sundowns, where they showcased their never-say-die attitude and secured victories in both legs against the South Africans."

Since the inception of the Caf Champions League, North African countries have produced more winners than any other zones in the continent. While Egypt accounts for 17 winners, Morocco and Tunisia account for seven and six winners respectively.

Ouahabi does not see this trend end anytime soon while stating what others must do to catch up.

“North African teams will maintain their dominance in this competition because they approach football as a serious business,” he added.

“You can't expect them to falter in a competition of this magnitude because they search globally for talented footballers and world-class coaches.

"In terms of organization and infrastructure, they are far ahead of others. Therefore, for others to catch up, they need to study the North African model and begin implementing the necessary measures.”

The winner of this year’s CAF Champions League will face CAF Confederation Cup winners Zamalek in the 2024 CAF Super Cup. They will also qualify for the 2024 FIFA Intercontinental Cup and the expanded 2025 FIFA Club World Cup in the United States of America. 



您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用 * 标注