23 May 2019 10:03
It is still too close to call. The trophy could settle either side. Egyptian giants Zamalek battles Moroccan surprise package RS Berkane on Sunday at the Alexandria based Borg El Arab Stadium as the curtains on the Total CAF Confederation Cup 2018/19 winds down. At the end of the night, a new champion will be presented with the trophy.
Berkane enters the final second leg holding a slim advantage from the first leg held last Sunday. Togolese Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba scored deep into injury time to settle things in north-eastern Morocco and spread joy to local supporters in Berkane, nicknamed “The Orange City”.
Zamalek who are thirsty to end a 16-year continental drought now need to score at least two unanswered goals in Alexandria to lift their first ever CAF Confederation Cup trophy.
Despite having nine CAF titles to their name (5 CAF Champions League, 3 CAF Super Cup and one defunct Cups Winners’ Cup), it’s the first time for the “White Knights” to reach the CAF Confederation Cup final. The closest they reached in the second tier continental club competition was the semi-final in 2015 before bowing out to eventual champions Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia. Zamalek last tasted continental glory in 2003 when they defeated Moroccan giants Wydad Athletic Club to lift the CAF Super Cup in Cairo.
On the other side, it’s Berkane’s best ever outing on the continent. The side founded in 1938 reached a CAF final for the first time in their history, and look eager to go all the way and keep the trophy in Morocco after compatriots Raja Club Athletic won it last season. Celebrations were heard in the streets of Berkane with fans confident “The Oranges” can rewrite history and return from Alexandria with their first ever continental trophy.
“We know the second leg will be difficult, but the late goal we scored here will be the goal of the title”, Berkane coach Mounir Jaouani said after the first leg. “The mission now is to bring the title from Egypt”, he added.
His opposite number Christian Gross looked sad after the game. “Conceding a very late goal like that is sad. Our opponents are strong and have quality players, but we will fight to win the title”, said the Swiss who was once coach of Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.
Kick-off is at 22H00 local time (20:00 GMT), with the 86,000 seated Borg El Arab stadium, just outside Egypt’s second biggest city Alexandria set as match venue.
The aggregate winner will grab $1.25 million US dollars, compared to the $625,000 USD for the runner up.