The CAFCL group stage was kinda boring but the quarterfinal promises a lot. There is not much to play for until then. Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca will face off for group C top spot and Group B will be settled on the final day. The other two groups were settled just as we had predicted but with a match-day to spare.
Here are the 4 lessons we picked after CAF Champions League 2019/2020 group stage match-day 5:
1. Kasengu Kazadi is the real deal
We do not know how Wydad Casablanca picked him out. Congolese, Kasengu Kazadi cost only $190,000 but he has taken to life in Casablanca so well. The striker has scored 7 goals in 6 appearances. In the CAFCL, he has scored 2 goals in 2 matches. Al Ahly might be wondering how other teams get better players on the cheap.
Kazadi might just have us reconsidering the prediction that Wydad will reach quarterfinals. Although, we wait for what the draw will throw at them before revising anything.
2. Esperance club of the 21st Century?
The Tunis club had a scare against Raja Casablanca but managed to come back and extend their CAFCL unbeaten run to 20 matches! This is a competition record. It broke the one set by Manuel Jose’s Al Ahly from 2004 to 2006. In fact, the last time Esperance Tunis lost a CAF Champions League match it was in the final itself.
They did not stop at that. Esperance Tunis also set a record of finishing first in the group for the 13th time. Do you think there is any team that can stop them?
3. The quarterfinal draw
It will not matter whether your team finished first or second in the group stage. Every quarterfinalist will be playing a tough match to get to the semifinal. 6 of the 8 teams confirmed for the last 8 are former champions. The only thing pending is for the trio of Etoile Sahel, Al Ahly and Al Hilal to figure out who should be knocked out.
4. Algerian crisis
Algeria did not just let everybody down, it is enduring a full-blown situation. USM Alger and JS Kabylie had another bad day at the office as they both suffered heavy defeats to confirm their exit from the CAFCL. We will put it into perspective. The 2 Algerian clubs have cumulatively only won 1 match out of the 10 that they have played. Let us hope their representatives carry the flag better next season.