Saturday Oct 17, 2020. 12:00
Wydad Casablanca and Al Ahly will do battle at Stade Mohamed V on Saturday in a first leg 2019-20 Caf Champions League semifinal clash. Kick-off is at 21:00 CAT.
This weekend’s hosts booked their place in the final four with a 2-1 aggregate win over Etoile du Sahel across February and March this year, with the semifinals of this season’s competition taking place five months after its originally scheduled dates due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A lot has happened since their success in the quarterfinals with Wydad still hurting from a dramatic final day of Botola Pro action which ended in them narrowly missing out on the league title to crosstown rivals and fellow CAFCL semifinalists Raja Casablanca.
Miguel Ángel Gamondi boasts an unbeaten record of five wins and three draws since taking over the reins from Juan Carlos Garrido at the Moroccan club. Gamondi, who won the South African league title with Mamelodi Sundowns in 2006, will go head-to-head with a man very familiar with the Brazilians.
Pitso Mosimane was appointed as Al Ahly boss earlier this month as successor to Rene Weiler. The former Bafana Bafana head coach arrived in Cairo after eight years as Sundowns boss during which period he won the 2016 Caf Champions League title.
“Of course it was not easy for me to come to Ahly and leave Mamelodi Sundowns that I have so much respect for my team. I spent eight years at Sundowns and it’s not easy just to move away from a team that you have spent eight years with,” said Mosimane on his arrival at the Egyptian Premier League champions.
“I think that shows how big Ahly is. And Ahly is respected on the continent and is respected in South Africa.
“That is why I’m not taking for granted where I am – I know where I am.
“And I know the responsibilities of my work here. I know the pressures and the stresses. Because it’s not the first time I’m in Egypt – I’ve seen the pressure of playing in the Caf Champions League against Al Ahly and Zamalek,” he concluded.
Before joining Al Ahly, Mosimane faced Wydad on 10 occasions in the Caf Champions League as Sundowns boss over the last three years. In total, he claimed three wins while losing on four occasions and drawing the other three matches.
Al Ahly booked their place in the final four with a 3-1 aggregate win over Sundowns and are aiming to reach the final of Africa’s premier club competition for the third time in the past four years. The Red Devils have won a record eight Champions League titles but haven’t won Africa’s premier competition since beating Orlando Pirates in 2013 and lost to Wydad in the 2017 final.
In total, Al Ahly and Wydad have met eight times in Africa’s elite club competition since 2011 and each side has claimed two outright wins apiece.
Wydad are vying for their third title, having lost to Esperance in last season’s final in dramatic fashion after their controversial abandonment of the second-leg.
The return match between these teams is set for Alexandria on Saturday 23 October, with the winners facing either Zamalek or Raja Casablanca in the final on November 6.