Egyptian giants Al Ahly are dreaming of extending their unprecedented record with a ninth CAF Champions League title, as they are preparing to take on North African rivals Esperance of Tunisia in the much awaited final. Both sides clash at the Alexandria based Borg El Arab stadium on Friday (2 November 2018) before locking horns again in the decisive return leg at Radis Olympic Stadium, just outside the Tunisian capital Tunis seven days later.
While Ahly are playing for a title they last won in 2013, their French coach Patrice Carteron will be targeting a personal glory too. Three years ago, Carteron led DR Congo giants TP Mazembe to win the Holy Grail of the continent's club football. And if he could repeat this achievement with Al Ahly this year, he will join a prestigious list of the coaches who led different clubs to the premier continental club trophy.
Egyptian late Mahmoud ElGohary led both giants Al Ahly (1982) and Zamalek (1993) to win the African Cup of Champions Clubs (former name of the CAF Champions League), while Argentine Oscar Fullone repeated the same feat with Cote d'Ivoire's ASEC Mimosas (1998) then with Morocco's Raja Casablanca in the following year (1999). No other coach has won the title with two different sides.
"It has been my target since I joined Al Ahly last June", Carteron told CAFOnline.com as his side started preparing for the final first leg at home. "I tasted CAF Champions League glory before, and I really want to have this feeling again".
In 8 CAF games with the Cairo "Red Devils" this term, Carteron led Al Ahly to 6 wins, a draw and a single defeat, managing six clean sheets in the process. An effect initiated by the signing of Malian giant defender Salif Coulibaly, another man who tasted glory with Carteron at Maazembe.
"I insisted on signing him because he's not just a good defender, Salif is a true leader. With his teammates they have done a great job so far", added the 48 years old Frenchman.
The 86000 seated Borg El Arab stadium, almost 200 kilometers north to Egyptian capital Cairo will be the venue for the first leg this Friday, 2 November 2018. At stake are the trophy, a 2.5 million dollars (2.2 million euros) prize, and a place in the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates next December.
Date of Birth: 30 July 1970 (Saint-Brieuc, France)
Playing Position: Defender
Career as player:
1990 - 1992 Stade Briochin (France)
1992 - 1994 Stade Lavallois (France)
1994 - 1997 Stade Rennais (France)
1997 - 2000 Olympique Lyonnais (France)
2000 - 2001 Saint Etienne (France)
2001 Sunderland (England)
2001 - 2005 Saint Etienne (France)
2005 - 2007 Cannes (France)
Career as coach:
2008 - 2009 Cannes (France)
2009 - 2012 Dijon (France)
2012 - 2013 Mali
2013 - 2016 TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
2016 - 2017 Wadi Degla (Egypt)
2017 Al Nassr (Saudi Arabia)
2017 - 2018 Phoenix Rising (USA)
2018 - Al Ahly (Egypt)
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football