Egyptian debutants Pyramids will kick-off their first ever continental campaign when they take on Congo’s Etoile du Congo this weekend at the Total CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round first leg in Cairo.
After securing third place in the 2018-19 Egyptian Premier League, Pyramids qualified to their first ever continental appearance.
Founded in 2008 as Al Assiouty Sport, the club that previously played once in Egyptian Premier League (2014-15) witnessed a complete revamp last year when Saudi investor Turki Al-Sheikh took ownership. Spending almost a billion Egyptian pounds (about 60 million USD), Pyramids topped the Egyptian Premier League charts for a greater part of the season, before eventually settling for third place behinds giants Al Ahly and Zamalek.
With a new owner this season, Pyramids landed the services of a man familiar with continental football as their coach. Frenchman Sebastien Desabre, who recently led Uganda to their first Africa Cup of Nations knockout stages appearance in 41 years joined the big spenders side after the just concluded AFCON in Egypt.
With spells at ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire), Coton Sport (Cameroon), Esperance (Tunisia), Recreativo Libolo (Angola), JS Saoura (Algeria), Wydad (Morocco) and Ismaily (Egypt) besides Uganda, Desabre (43) looks the right man in place for Pyramids who seek another successful season after guaranteeing a continental appearance for the first time in their history.
I signed for Pyramids because I know well what they can do. I had a previous experience with Egyptian football (with Ismaily) and now I’m looking forward for more, especially in the CAF Confederation Cup, Desabre told reporters after signing for Pyramids last month.
But he will go to this season’s second tier continental club competition with a new-look team than last season’s one. Brazilian sensation Keno joined UAE side Al Jazira, playmaker Mohamed Afsha Magdy moved to giants Al Ahly, while Peruvian Christian Benavente was loaned to French side Nantes.
Yet Pyramids landed nine new signings, including Ghanaian forward John Antwi who had spells with Ismaily, Ahly and Misr Makassa, and Ugandan Abdo Lomala who was one of Desabre’s key players with the Cranes in their AFCON adventure.
With Egypt internationals Ahmed Elshenawy, Abdullah Elsaid, Omar Gaber, Ahmed Mansour and Nabil Dunga Emad, Pyramids would be the team to look for in this season’s Total CAF Confederation Cup.
The return leg takes place in Brazzaville, Congo in a fortnight.
Friday, 9 August 2019
Paradou (Algeria) vs CI Kamsar (Guinea)
Saturday, 10 August 2019
ASC SNIM (Mauritania) vs ESAE (Benin)
Pelican (Gabon) vs Maniema (DR Congo)
*Mogadishu City (Somalia) vs Malindi (Zanzibar)
Akonangui (Equatorial Guinea) vs Ashantigold (Ghana)
Niger Tornadoes (Nigeria) vs Santoba (Guinea)
Buildcon (Zambia) vs Young Buffaloes (Eswatini)
AS Kigali (Rwanda) vs KMC (Tanzania)
Proline (Uganda) vs Masters Security (Malawi)
Bandari (Kenya) vs Ahly Shandy (Sudan)
CR Belouizdad (Algeria) vs Coton Tchad (Chad)
Sunday, 11 August 2019
US Gendarmerie (Niger) vs Al Ittihad (Libya)
Maranatha (Togo) vs LISCR (Liberia)
Bolton City (Mauritius) vs Jwaneng Galaxy (Botswana)
TS Galaxy (South Africa) vs St. Louis (Seychelles)
ARTA Solar (Djibouti) vs El Khartoum (Sudan)
Motema Pembe (DR Congo) vs Stade Renard (Cameroon)
US Ben Guerdane (Tunisia) vs Amarat (South Sudan)
Fasil Kenema (Ethiopia) vs Azam (Tanzania)
Triangle (Zimbabwe) vs Rukinzo (Burundi)
Pyramids (Egypt) vs Etoile du Congo (Congo)
*Both matches will be played in Zanzibar
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)