The Confederation of African Football, CAF will be crowning a new Champions League title holder as the 2018 tournament comes gradually reaches in conclusion in the coming weeks.
Four clubs remain in the chase for the trophy, as the semifinals of the African football spectacle begins this week.
Al Ahly Sporting Club of Egypt will be engaged in the first of two semi-final clashes when they square up against Entente Sportive Sètifienne at Cairo International Stadium on October 2. The return leg of their tie will take place on October 28 at ES Setif’s Stade 8 Mai 1945.
The other tie of the round will see Clube Desportivo 1º de Agosto play host to Espérance de Tunis on the same day (October 2) with the return leg in Tunisia being played on October 28 as well.
Egyptian giants Al-Ahly have been tipped by many to advance from their semifinal tie with ES Setif, and they would certainly want to at least get back to the finals as they did last year.
Wydad Casablanca defeated Al-Ahly in last season’s final with a 2 – 1 aggregate scoreline- that was only the third time the most successful team in the competition’s history have lost in the final.
ES Setif themselves are not minnows when it comes to CAF’s flagship club football competition having won the ulminate twice in the past with their most recent triumph coming in the 2014 edition which coincidentally was the 50th.
Although Al-Ahly are way ahead of Setif on the CAF ranking, the latter came out top the last time the face off against each other. ES Setif defeated Ahly 2 – 1 in their CAF Super Cup encounter in 2015.
In the other semifinal Clash however, Tunisian side Esperance (second ranked team in Africa) are up against Angolan side Primeiro de Agosto.
Last season’s top scorer Taha Khenissi has been quiet for Esperance of late but his compatriot Anis Badry has been impressive so far scoring six goals in his side’s run up to the semi final.
Esperance have two Champions League titles to their credit, the most recent of which was won in 2011. They reached the finals the following year, but lost to Al-Ahly in the final.
Primeiro de Agosto have gone 24 straight outings without suffering a loss in all competitions this season making them a force to reckon with in their first ever semi final appearance.
The Angolan representatives have taken their last three domestic Girabola titles.
Primeiro de Agosto are ranked 13th in the CAF club rankings, which is up from 18th just over a year ago.
An upset over Esperance would surely increase their stock, but they will likely be the underdogs in the eyes of the book makers.
Al-Ahly locked horns with Esperance in the group stage, and they may meet in the finals. The best team in Egypt and the best team in Tunisia will find a way to keep their semifinal affairs in order, en route to creating a rematch of the 2012 CAF Champions League finals.
Meanwhile all the four semifinalists are set to earn $800,000.
The winner of the event takes home a cool $2.5 Million, so there is plenty of reason to fight for all four teams still involved.