It is the second CAF Champions league final in three years for Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco. Overall the Casablanca-based club has been champions on two occasions, 1992 and 2017.
For the last five years, the Reds have regained a place among Africa’s elite. Since Hussein Ammouta’s achievement in 2017 when Wydad won the CAF Champions League at the expense of Egyptian giants, Al Ahly, the team have kept almost the same squad, but Tunisian Faouzi Benzarti has since replaced Ammouta at the helm.
We have seen how stable the team has become at the level of the administration and also the players. This stability is the main factor behind the club’s success recently, said Chafik Zaaraoui, a Moroccan football journalist.
The players of Wydad have gained enough experience in the African competition after five continuous participations in the CAF Champions League, he added.
The fans are satisfied with the club’s results under the presidency of Said Naciri, reelected last year for another term till 2022.
In addition to providing all the conditions to play for titles, Said Naciri has tried hard to keep the best players, staunch fan, Nabil Abibou echoed.
As fans, we are satisfied with the result so far. We have won the CAF Champions League after more than 20 years, and we have reached another final this season, pointed out Abdellah Bouyanna, another supporter.
Wydad will face off reigning champions, Esperance, a clash in a form of revenge for the Reds who lost the final of the 2011 edition to the Tunisians.
The two teams have met on four occasions, the first in 1998 in the semi-finals of the 1998 CAF Cup Winners’ Cup which Cup, Esperance won 4-1 at home, losing 2-0 in the reverse but advanced 4-3 on aggregate.
The second clash was in 2009 in the Arab Champions League final. Esperance won the first leg 1-0 in Casablanca and drew 1-1 in Tunis.
In 2011, the two sides met at two stages of the CAF Champions League matches. The first in the group phase which ended 2-2 in Casablanca and 0-0 in Tunis. Then in the final, which Esperance won the title after a goalless draw in the first leg game, and a 1-0 victory in Tunis.
The second leg will take place on 31 May in Rades near Tunis, where Wydad have nightmarish memories from previous trips.
We are lucky we have an experienced coach in Faouzi Benzarti who knows the ins and outs of Esperance, Bouyanna concluded.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)