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Wydad Casablanca Kick Off Champions League Defence

Title holders Wydad Casablanca will kick off the defence of their crown when they travel to Nigeria on Sunday, to face Rivers United in the first leg of their 2022/2023 CAF Champions League first round tie.

Three-time African champions (1992,2017 and 2022), Wydad are making their sixth appearance at the continent’s foremost club competition and will be hot favourites to get past Rivers United.

Wydad, under new head coach Houcine Ammouta, are enjoying a fine run of form at the moment on the local stage, lying top on the log in the Moroccan league.

Ammouta took the reins at the African Champions in August following the exit of the winning coach Walid Regragui.

The experienced gaffer, Ammouta formerly coached WAC between 2017-2018 when his team won the CAF Champions League in November 2017 after defeating Egyptian club Al Ahly 1-0.

Rivers United The Nigerian side beat Liberian side Watanga in the first preliminary round to advance to the second round.

The Pride of Rivers general manager Okey Kpalukwu believes the Port Harcourt-based club have the quality to overcome champions Wydad Casablanca.

“It’s going to be a very tough clash against the defending champions, but I want to assure Rivers people and Nigerians that Rivers United have got the quality, support, and backing to qualify into the group stage of the competition,” Kpalukwu was quoted on Rivers United Twitter handle.

“The boys will work hard and every hand must be on deck this time to get into the group stage.”

Last season, the Nigeria Professional Football League champions  were eliminated from the competition by Sudanese champions Al-Hilal Omdurman.

It’s worth noting that since Enyimba won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004, no other Nigerian team has come close to delivering a continental title.

The game will kick off in Rivers State at 16h00 CAT on Sunday, with the return scheduled a week later at Stade Mohamed V Stadium in Casalanca.


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