29 October 2014 07:42
The curtains for the 2014 Sudanese Premier League will fold-up on Thursday, 30 October 2014, with the Omdurman derby between fiercest rivals Al Hilal and Al Merreikh.
The bitterest rivals will sign-off with the encounter at the Al-Hilal Stadium that will also decide the winner of the championship.
With just a point separating the two sides, Hilal (64 points) and Merreikh (63 points), there is so much to play for in the ultimate fixture (Week 26) despite the fact that both sides are certain to participate in next year’s Orange Caf Champions League by virtue of their positions.
Hilal, nicknamed ‘Saeed Al-Balad’ which literally translates ‘Masters of the country’ has won more league title that their rivals, 11 since 1996 against seven titles going the way of Merreikh.
Besides, Hilal also has an edge in competitive matches between the two sides since 1996, with 17 wins and just six victories for Merreikh with as many as 14 games ending in stalemates.
Further to that, the ‘Saeed Al Balad’ also have an enviable record of winning the league title five times in a row, between 2003 and 2007, as well as plotting the biggest win in the derby, a 4-1 win in 1996.
It was not until 2011 that Merreikh began to draw some parity in terms of honours with their bitterest rivals. Since that time, each side has managed just a win from seven meetings whilst five failed to produce a winner.
Talking of league titles, Merreikh were crowned champions in 2008, 2011 and 2013 just as Hilal in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
After a 1-1 draw in the previous meeting at the first round, Merreikh will be hoping to complete a double over their rivals, after edging them to the Sudanese Cup courtesy a 3-1 win last week.
The key actors for the encounter are Bakri Abdul Qader, Salah Ibrahim ‘Al Jizoli’ and experienced Mudathir El-Taieb ‘Careca’ for Hilal whereas Mali-import Mohamed Traore, Kenyan Allan Wanga and Sudanese duo, Raji Abdul Aati and veteran Ramadan Agab will take the challenge of inspiring ‘Al Zaiem’ the the expected result.
Whilst a draw will be enough to land Hilal the title, Merreikh captain Ahmed Al-Basha tells Cafonline.com they are prepared to wrap up the title in an unfashionable manner at the backyard of their old foes.
“We have no option other than winning. For us the players, the title is our top priority,” Basha said.
However, an arduous task awaits Merreikh at a venue nicknamed ‘cemetery’ and have not won there since 2001.
”On the contrary, we are hoping to break the jinx at Hilal Stadium and write a new chapter. We are determined to win,” he concluded.
On the otherhand, Omar Bakheet, captain of Hilal says they are focused on a happy ending and brushed aside Merreikh spoiling their party.
“The Board of Directors, players and the entire Hilal family are putting in great effort for a happy coronation on Thursday. We therefore want to win and present the title as a gift from the players to the Board of Directors and the fans,” said Bakheet who added that they are motivated by their loss in the Sudanese Cup to overturn the tables.
The match will take place at 20H00 local time (17H00 GMT).