Top Three Players Who Could Influence Today’s CAF Champions League Final
Three individual players who could turn the game around in today’s CAF Champions League Final.
Today will be the occasion when the new African Champions will be determined, replacing Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca as holders who failed to get past the knockout stage.
Egypt’s Al Ahly and Esperance du Tunis are the sides slugging it out at the 170 million dinar Stade Olympique de Rades, boasting a 60,000 capacity, the venue.
The Red Devils –Al Ahly’s Sobriquet – look better placed going into the cracking duel having beaten the Tunisians 3-1 in the first leg in Cairo in a contest marred by controversial decisions.
A win today will have the Cairo giants securing a combined twenty-five continental medals since the club’s inception. Esperance, cheered on by their faithful, will be out hoping to apply the brakes to that would-be terrific feat.
One of the notable absentees for Ahly includes veteran right-back Fathi who sustained an injury last Friday and Junior Ajay.
Walid Azaro is the other one missing on the side of Al Ahly after he got banned for two games and fined $20,000 for ripping his jersey in a failed attempt to get the referee to send off his marker. A North African version of Barcelona up against Real Madrid, there will be thrills and spills with so much hype already around the tie.
Ducor Sports gives a breakdown of three individual players who could turn the game around any moment.
FOUSSENY COULIBALLY: Popular for his intentions to switch allegiance to Tunisia just in time for the 2018 World Cup, Coulibally is no ordinary footballer.
Into his fifth season at Esperance, he is one player who could be the game-changer for the Red and Gold. Tunisia’s FA bold decision to campaign for him to earn citizenship in spite of the hordes of opposition to the idea goes to show the caliber of player he is. The heartbeat of Esperance, the two-time Tunisian premier league winner is the sort of a midfielder with an eye for defense-splitting passes. Al Ahly ended up winning in the first-leg but Esperance dictated the game’s pace with the Ivory Coast-born the mastermind of it- trickery, composure, body balance, he combines it all.
WALID SULEIMAN: Voted man-of-the-match in the first meeting, replicating the feat to shepherd the Egyptians to the title will surely be his preoccupation. He will be eye-marked by ES but keeping him quiet requires hours of dedicated rehearsals.
Former TP Mazembe gaffer Patrice Carteron would be tempted to field the 33-year-old in attack to fill the void created by the suspension of star striker Walid Azaro. His dynamism in front of goal will be key in the Red Devils containing the hosts.
TAHA YASSINE KHENISIS: Taha tormented the defense as any striker would but failed to get his moment of breakthrough and ended up spurning begging chances.
The Stade de Rades is an intimidating venue and Taha will target making this count by showing the visitors a side of him they’ve never seen before.