African stars set to headline Europa Conference League final

African stars set to headline Europa Conference League final
Fiorentina's foward M'Bala Nzola in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match ACF Fiorentina vs AC Monza at Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence, Italy, 13 May 2024 EPA/CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI

by Staff Reporter

Tuesday May 28, 2024. 11:11

Spearheaded by African stars such as Ayoub El Kaabi and M’Bala Nzola, Olympiacos and Fiorentina are set to compete in a keenly anticipated UEFA Conference League final at the OPAP Arena on Wednesday evening.

Kick-off is at 9:00pm (SA, GMT+2)

The Greek giants booked their spot in the UEFA Conference League final via a 6-2 aggregate win over Aston Villa in the semi-finals, a fixture that was lit up by El Kaabi. The Moroccan star scored five goals against the English giants across both legs, a tally that propelled him to top of the UEFA Conference League scorer’s chart with 10 efforts to his name after eight matches played.

Reflecting on his form leading up to the final, El Kaabi reserved special praise for Olympiacos coach José Luis Mendilibar, who gave him the needed ‘freedom’ to perform on the pitch.

“Our coach came in at a very tricky time. He has lots of experience – he has coached many teams and won the Europa League with Sevilla,” El Kaabi told UEFA.

“He has given me a lot of confidence, allowed me to be comfortable on the pitch, given me more freedom. I thank him, the entire technical staff and the physios at the club. They always make sure we’re in peak condition.”

Fiorentina recorded a 4-3 aggregate win over Belgian side Club Brugge in their semi-final clash earlier this month, with Angolan star M’Bala Nzola playing a key role in his side reaching the final of the tournament.

While Nzola scored the winning goal for Fiorentina in their 3-2 victory over Club Brugge in the first-leg semi-final clash, the centre forward is currently the club’s second top-scorer (3) and assist maker (2) in the competition.

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