Finally! This is the month that the CAF Champions League will resume after a lengthy hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CAFCL 2019/2020 semifinal will be a Morocco vs Egypt affair. The first legs will be played in Casablanca. Wydad Casablanca will play Al Ahly as Raja Casablanca plays Zamalek. Who will you be supporting?
The Egyptian Premier League and the Botola resumed in good time affording the quartet good preparation ahead of the last four clashes. But we worry about the situation in Morocco because Wydad has reported cases of Covid-19 infections among its players.
In Morocco, Wydad have slipped and allowed Raja Casablanca to overtake them for the number one position. In Egypt, Al Ahly continue to cruise but they lost the Cairo Derby to Zamalek.
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We plan to do multiple reviews to preview these upcoming CAFCL semifinals matches. The reason we will do this is because there is a lot to talk about. It is also because you have told us you miss the CAF Champions League matches. We want to warm you up for the semifinals. And if you have anything you want us to talk about just let us know on the comments section below 😉
Today, we will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each of the semifinal teams to get an idea of how they will approach their respective matches. Read on:
Strength: Wydad Casablanca has been the most consistently good team in the CAF Champions League over the last four seasons. Read more on that here.
Wydad is a difficult team to beat. On top of this, they are able to grind out results better than anybody else when not playing well. This is how they qualified to the quarterfinals despite a poor start in Group C. Watch out for them on set-pieces!
Weakness: Not even Ismail El Haddad, El Karti or Badi Aouk will produce rhythm in their attacking play. Wydad create chances in moments. This is only after successful dribbling by their wingers, during counter-attacks or when they get set-piece opportunities. They will suffer if they concede the first goal.
Strength: Al Ahly have a deep squad. This allows them to solve all sorts of problems during a match from their subs bench. Rene Weiler has also set up Al Ahly to dominate possession and take the game to their opponent. This has allowed players like Afsha and Maaloul to thrive. Ahly will absolutely overwhelm you if you allow them time to settle in a match. Just ask Sundowns and Etoile Sahel.
Weakness: The Red Devils are still poor on the road. They have not won an away match in the CAF Champions League this season despite playing Platinum Stars in the group stage. Their saving grace could be the fact that fans may not be allowed on the stands in Casablanca.
Strength: On their day, Raja Casablanca have more flair than any eKasi Flavor team. Rahimi, Moutouali and Hafidi are a tad too much for any defence to handle. And I have not even mentioned Ben Malango’s eye for goal. Raja have also been exceptional in cup competitions this season. They knocked out TP Mazembe from the CAFCL. They also dispatched Wydad and MC Alger from the Arab Club Championship.
Weakness: Raja Casablanca have proven to be defensively sound in the CAFCL this season. But the defensively minded midfield duo of Arjoune and Ngoma takes away so much from their attacking potential. They need a creative central midfielder who will give them a little bit more penetration in tight matches such as the one that they will play in the last four.
Strength: Zamalek have stepped up in big matches this season as they have seasoned players like Sassi and Bencharki. The White Knights are perfect in central midifield and in attack in terms of personnel – and some would say in terms of approach. But we are not really fans of Carteron’s counter-attack play.
Weakness: Zamalek have no good fullbacks and this adds onto the pressure that their central defence faces. The club somehow survived Esperance Tunis but Raja Casablanca are even more adventurous going forward and will not sleep on the chances Taraji had in Cairo.
Do you agree with the team review above? Let us know on the comments section below.