Esperance and Moghreb Fes clash in CAF Super Cup
Reigning African club champions Esperance from Tunisia are set to bridge a 17-year gap this weekend by winning the CAF Super Cup a second time. The CAF Champions League winners host CAF Confederation Cup title holders Moghreb Fes from Morocco on Saturday at the 60,000-seat November 7 Stadium on the outskirts of Tunis.
Esperance last lifted the trophy in 1995 with a 3-0 triumph over Daring Club Motema Pembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Egyptian Mediterranean city Alexandria. It was the final Super Cup fixture staged at a neutral venue because of low attendances with the subsequent 16 one-off games hosted by the winners of the previous Champions League.
This has given the champions a huge advantage and only one Raja Casablanca from Morocco in 1998 failed to use it as they lost a penalty shootout after drawing 2-2 with Etoile Sahel from Tunisia. Egyptian clubs have dominated the Super Cup with Al Ahly winning a record four titles and arch Cairo rivals Zamalek three while Tunisia lie second with three successes through Etoile (twice) and Esperance.
Morocco have a dismal record in a competition that rewards winners with a 75,000-dollar cheque as Raja have won and lost while arch rivals Wydad Casablanca suffered two defeats and Rabat clubs FAR and FUS one each. Moghreb can draw some comfort from the fact that recent Super Cup games have been close with three of the last six settled by penalties and two more ending in one-goal victory margins. It will be the first international test for Swiss Michel Decastel since he replaced Nabil Maaloul as coach of Esperance after the Blood and Gold returned from a poor showing at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan two months ago.
The Tunisians were the latest African club to fare disappointingly at the annual tournament with a quarter-final loss to Al-Sadd from Qatar followed by a fifth-place defeat against Monterrey from Mexico. But Esperance had an outstanding home record en route to the Champions League title last year, winning six matches and drawing one while scoring 18 goals and conceding none with five-goal Youssef Msakni the leading marksman. Moghreb won the second-tier Confederation Cup on penalties against Club Africain, the major Tunis rivals of Esperance, despite just two victories from nine away matches.
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
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