21 February 2013

Egypt: Al Ahly and AC Leopards Square Up in African Super Cup Match

Photo: CAF
Egypt's Al Ahly players celebrating their win.

Reigning Orange CAF Champions League holders Al Ahly of Egypt meet the Orange CAF Confederation champion AC Leopards Dolisie of Congo on Saturday in the Super Cup match to be played at Borg el Arab stadium in the Egypt's port city of Alexandria.

Al Ahly will start out as favourites largely due to their vast experience in club competition over the past thirty years and even with the tie being played away from their home base in Cairo. It will be a different Al Ahly side though that plays on Saturday from the one that won the club's seventh Champions League title last November. From that team coach Hossam El Badry is missing 7 who have moved away from Al Ahly since their Champions League win via transfers and loans.

The most prominent absentee is Mohamed Aboutreika who is away on a short term loan to Bani Yas of United Arab Emirates. Mohamed Nagy Gedo and Ahmed Fathi are with English second division club Hull until the end of the season. These changes may have an impact on the home team as shown by the four goals Ahly have managed so far in the new domestic league season that is four matches old

According to Hossam El Badry, Al Ahly needs a little time to find its feet and gel as a team, so this might just be the kind of invitation the visitors AC Leopards need to cause an upset.

Of the five Super Cups Ahly has played in, the club won four: in 2001 against Kaizer Chiefs in 2005 against FAR Rabat in 2006 against Etoile Sahel of Sousse and 2008 against Sfaxien. The only defeat for Al Ahly was against neighbours and bitter rival s, Zamalek in 1993 in a match played in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Visitors AC Leopards will be keen to impose his enthusiasm and enterprise spirit that won them the second tie African club Cup against all odds last season. They come into the match strengthened by the victory last Sunday against the Gabonese Mounana CF in the first leg of the first round of the Orange CAF Champions League 2013. "Even though we currently lack the edge because local competition is still to start, I think the team is good at the moment, says coach Cameroon Joseph Marius Omog. " We have played a number of friendly matches and players are confident going into this crucial one off match and that very positive to take into Saturday's game. "

Egyptians should be wary of a team that emerged from a tough pool and defeated some former champions to win last season. AC Leopards demonstrated throughout last season Orange CAF Confederation Cup that they are not scared of taking on teams in their own backyard. Of the nine matches played on opponent's field AC Leopards managed one win, 5 draws and only 3 defeats. After losing at home to Tunisian side Sfaxien the Congolese turned the tables to beat Sfaxien in their backyard and go through to the next stage of the competition.

Come Saturday the side from Dolisie Congo could feel that they have absolutely nothing to lose in Alexandria and allow themselves to enjoy the game and in the process claim the Super Cup.

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