It will be a battle between two giants of African Football when South African side, Orlando Pirates square Egyptian giants Al-Ahly in the first leg of the 2013 Orange CAF Champions League final on Saturday at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg.
Ahly, defending champions are seeking to take their tally to eight titles whilst Pirates are eyeing their first continental title since 1995.
The stakes are high in the first leg with the outcome expected to play a vital role in the return encounter eight days later in the Egyptian capital.
Ahly have demonstrated a strong character to reach this far for a second successive season, making the absence of a major football competition in Egypt for the past two years count for less.
For Pirates, this is the golden chance to put South African football in the limelight after many years in oblivion. South African clubs have been out of contention since Mamelodi Sundowns were beaten in the final in 2001, incidentally by Ahly.
However, the Buccaneers have exhibited much quality this season confirming their readiness to dine with the big guns of African club football. Their journey this far saw them east past recent winners, TP Mazembe (DR Congo) at the 1/8th round and Esperance (Tunisia) at the semis.
They also have a better record against Ahly after beating them 3-0 at the latter's backyard and settling for a barren draw in the reverse fixture in Johannesburg at the mini-league stage.
Based on this, midfielder Andile Jali reckons there was no better o1pponent other than Ahly for the decider.
"I could not have imagined a better opponent in the final. We respect them, but do not fear them. They play good football and we love that, noted Jali, one of the scorers in the 3-0 win over Ahly at the group phase.
With Pirates still basking in their previous win over their guests, Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef has downplayed the effect of the match on the final game. The trainer will be on the bench for the first time after missing out on the second leg semis clash against Coton Sport of Cameroon and has urged his players to remain focused for the tie.
"I have told my players to forget about the previous meetings against Orlando Pirates and focus on the final. They must use their experience to overcome the South Africans and win the title for the eighth time in the club's history," said Youssef.
The Red Devils have been boosted by the return of striker Emad Moteab after a long absence due to injury whilst first choice goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy has been passed fit after initial doubts over his availability.
The winner of the tie will pocket 1.5 Million US Dollars and also represent the continent at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco in December.