Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1235, (26 February - 4 March 2015)
Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Issue 1235, (26 February - 4 March 2015)

Ahram Weekly

The new super club

Entente Setif beat Ahli to win the African Super Cup, reports Abeer Anwar

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Entente Setif became the first Algerian club to win the CAF Super Cup which pits the CAF Champions League winner and the CAF Confederation Cup champions. The only Algerian side to taste the ‘champion-of-champions’ match was JS Kabylie in 1996, but they lost 1-0 to Orlando Pirates of South Africa in Johannesburg.

Setif beat Egyptian giants Ahli on penalties 6-5 after a regulation time 1-1 draw.

‘Black Eagles’ goalkeeper Abdel-Wahab Khedairia saved the decisive kick from Ahli defender Bassem Ali to propel the Setif-based club to the historic feat after Ahli striker Emad Meteb had cancelled Abdelmalek Ziaya’s 70th minute opener in stoppage time.

The hosts were cruising to victory after Ziaya put them up by connecting in a cross from the left, only for Meteb, whose last gasp strike handed Ahli the Orange CAF Confederation Cup last December, to scramble in the equaliser during the final seconds of added-on time.

Saturday’s match was played in Blida, 45 kilometres south of Algiers. Both teams were on guard defending most the time as if trying to unravel the opponent’s mysteries, probably why the first half ended goalless.

In the penalty shootout, Mourad Delhoum, Farid Mellouli, Mohamed Benyettou, Eudes Dagoulou, Belameiri and Sid Ali Lamri scored for ES Setif whilst Zakaria, Abdullah Said, Meteb, Samir, and Trezeguet were on target for Ahli, Ali being the sole culprit of the spot kicks.

Only 1,000 of the 25,000 tickets for the showdown at Stade Mustapha Tchaker went to Ahli supporters, according to BBC.

Champions League success led to Setif being voted CAF Club of the Year, Kheireddine Madoui voted Coach of the Year and El-Hedi Belameiri and Akram Djahnit finishing runners-up in the Africa-based Footballer of the Year.

It was the first time since 1994 that Ahli has tasted defeat in the CAF Super Cup. Twenty-one years ago, the Red Devils lost to bitter rivals Zamalek in the 1994 edition held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The tournament had been won nine times by Egyptian clubs. 

“We were better in almost all aspects of the game, made good passes and better in possession. Even when we were behind, we came back strongly and equalised,” Carlos Garrido, Ahli’s head coach, said at the post match press conference.

 “We missed many chances that could have secured the match for us. ES Setif’s goal was by chance. I cannot blame my players. They did a great job,” the Spaniard added.

“I’m proud to win this title,” ES Setif coach Kheïreddine Madoui Madoui said. “Ahli gave us problems but that did not stop us from believing. It was a tough match against a strong opponent. We know penalties depend hugely on luck, and we were lucky in the end. I want to congratulate Khedairia. He was our saviour today. He was able to rise to the occasion, making some good saves.”

Ahli, record six-time winners of the CAF Super Cup, also missed out on the chance of becoming the first side on the continent to win three Super Cups in a row. They were winners of the last two editions.

With the CAF Super Cup taking the club’s trophy haul to 23 titles, Madoui finally declared that ES Setif had now joined the elite class of African football.“Now I can say that we (ES Setif) are now part of the big clubs in Africa. We won the CAF Champions League and now the Super Cup (Champion of Champions).”

In addition to the trophy, ES Setif collected $75,000 in prize money.

CAF President Issa Hayatou assisted by Algerian Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Tahmi presented the giant trophy to ES Setif captain Mellouli amidst cheers from the ecstatic crowd.

Separately, Egypt has withdrawn from bidding to host the 2017 Africa Nations Cup after Algeria submitted a bid to host the same event. According to Hani Abu Reida, executive committee member at both the CAF and the FIFA, “We thought it was not right to compete with an Arab country which is so close to us, so it is better for us to support Algeria in its bid against Gabon.”

On another score, Abu Reida said the letter sent from FIFA to the Egyptian Football Federation (EFF) does not oblige the EFF to start the league tournament but was an incentive for the federation to go ahead.

The league was suspended after 19 people were killed in a stampede prior to a league game two weeks ago.

Gamal Allam , head of the EFF, sent an official petition to Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb and Youth and Sports Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz calling for the resumption of the league. Allam said LE2 billion will be lost and around three million workers will lose their jobs if it is not played. “This is in addition to Egypt’s reputation in front of the world,” Allam said.

It will also affect the performance of the national team, Hassan Farid, EFF deputy president, said.

Reports suggest that the league may soon resume but without fans in attendance.

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