Al-Ahly Frustrate Congolese Giants
May 11, 2024
May 12, 2024


By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (April 21st 2024)


Ghana’s Dreams FC is a comparatively new team, founded just 15 years ago. Ten years ago they were promoted to Ghana’s top flight. While Ghana’s traditional top clubs Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak were conspicuous by their absence in this season’s African clubs’ competition, Dreams FC surprised African football, and Ghanaian too with their progress under former Kotoko and Ghana player Abdul-Karim Zito.

He was a member of the Asante Kotoko team which won the Africa Cup of Champions Clubs in 1983against Al-Ahly. As well as surprising naysayers with Dreams, Zito led the Black Satellites (Ghana’s Under-20 team) to triumph in Mauritania’s U-20 AFCON in 2021.

With no experience of this stage in African clubs’ competition, Zito knew that Dreams were the overwhelming underdogs. Avoiding defeat was his target – preventing conceding and hope to strike on the counter-attack.


Zamalek’s Portuguese coach, José Gomes, warned that underestimating Dreams would prove disastrous. Zamalek had 25 attempts on goal, but only six of them were on target.

The first half was summed up by a pass by Jaziri on the left deflecting off the defender just wide of goalkeeper Solomon Agbasi’s far post – it was one of the biggest threats to Dreams’ goal. Midway through the first half Derrick Agyei bundled Seifeddine Jaziri over in the penalty area, but despite Jaziri’s appeals, nothing was given and VAR was not consulted – Shikabala’s follow-up went wide.

After a poor first half Zamalek had failed to break the deadlock Gomes rang in the changes. The second half produced a far better performance from the home side, beginning with Samson Akinyoula finding the side netting at the near post. Shikabala’s dangerous cross/shot had to be tipped over by Agbasi. It was followed by a teasing cross on the left by Ibrahima N’Diaye, which was headed over by Jaziri. Another cross by N’Diaye gave Jaziri the chance to give Zamalek a slender lead, but his header failed to find the net. There was still time for N’Diaye’s header to hit the crossbar – he should have scored.

Dreams’ obdurate defending had secured the result they came for. Zito made it clear that winning would have been a bonus – the aim was to avoid defeat. Gomes indicated that Zamalek’s second half performance was much better, and both promised that the second leg would be a different match.


Meanwhile, politics wrecked the other semi-final. The equipment and kits of RC Berkane had been seized at the Houari Boumédiène Airport in Algiers. Berkane’s players were stranded at the airport while the row progressed. Algeria does not recognise the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara as part of Morocco and produced kits for Berkane where the map of Morocco reflected that.

Berkane refused to wear the Algerian made kits and the match was abandoned without a ball being kicked. Only the Confederation Cup champions USM Alger took to the pitch. Repercussions are sure to follow.

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