May 12, 2024
Al-Ahly Reach Fourth Champions League Final in Five Years
May 13, 2024


By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (April 25th 2024)

Evenly Poised

Defending CAF Champions League champions, Al-Ahly, host the top team ever produced by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), TP (Tout Puissant) Mazembe tomorrow night with the tie evenly poised after a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Lubumbashi (formerly Élisabethville).

Former Grasshoppers and Switzerland midfielder, Marcel Koller, has coached Al Ahly since 2022. He has previously coached Grasshoppers, Basel, Austria ad FC Köln, among others. Ahly is his first sojourn into coaching in Africa. Koller won the CAF Champions League against Wydad Athletic Club last year.

“Things were very difficult for us in the first leg in Lubumbashi,” Al-Ahly’s coach, Marcel Koller, told journalists at Cairo International Stadium at the 11 times African clubs champions’ pre-match press conference. “The sun was too hot. We missed some key players and also the playing field was terrible.

“It’s still 50-50 for both teams.

“I believe that with the support of our fans tomorrow, we can achieve another Champions League final.”

South African talisman Percy Tau has been injured but is expected to make his return for the second leg.

“I am happy Percy Tau is back but some other players will be back from injury too and the final training session today will determine it,” Koller said.


TP Mazembe is one of the few giants of African football to be coached by a top African coach – Ahly achieved success with that through South Africa’s Pitso Mosimane, one of the few African coaches to taste Champions Clubs success with two different teams – Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016 against Zamalek and Al-Ahly in 2020 and 2021 against Zamalek and Kaiser Chiefs respectively.

Mosimane left Al-Ahly in 2022, replaced by Koller. Meanwhile, TP Mazembe has a top African coach, the Sénégalese, Lamine N’Diaye. In his second spell as coach of TP Mazembe, the former midfielder, has coached Sénégal, Sudan’s Al-Hilal and Guinea’s Horoya, among others.

N’Diaye sounded a cautious note at his press conference.

“We suffered and missed a number of key players in the first leg just like Al Ahly, but big clubs are not affected by these things,” he said.

“Our goal is to win the Champions League and we will play to win tomorrow and qualify for the final.”

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