2018 CAF Champions League Final: North African date on the books

All the draws, travels, cheers, cries, outbursts and many other priceless moments that always come with the CAF Champions league have once again led up to this moment, the grand finale. The biggest club football tournament in Africa, that pitches the best form each country has reached the climax and just like last year, two North African clubs will got to war for the ultimate prize.

Esperance Sportive team discussing tactics before the FIFA Club World Cup 5th Place match between Club de Futbol Monterrey and Esperance Sportive de Tunis at Toyota Stadium on December 14, 2011 in Toyota, Japan.  (Dec. 13, 2011 - Source: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Esperance Sportive team discussing tactics before the FIFA Club World Cup 5th Place match between Club de Futbol Monterrey and Esperance Sportive de Tunis at Toyota Stadium on December 14, 2011 in Toyota, Japan.

(Dec. 13, 2011 - Source: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac)

One of the biggest stories leading to the final has been that of Angolan club, Primeiro de Agosto. Primeiro were eyeing their first CAF Champions League since their inception in 1977 and had indeed moved mountains to achieve just that. They knocked out the likes of 5 time champions TP Mazembe and fellow dream chasers, Mbabane Swallows of eSwatini in the running to the semi-finals. With exciting attacking football and underdog status, Primeiro had become everyone’s favorite in the semifinal mix of dominant North African clubs. However, they respectfully bowed out last night in Tunisia after an eventful second leg semi-final against Esperance Sportive de Tunis.


Primeiro headed into the leg with a narrow 1-0 advantage and doubled that lead, seven minutes after kickoff. Esperance quickly responded with two goals before half-time to bring the tie down to the wire. An unfortunate second half for Primeiro saw them score one more to turn the tie on its head to their favor before Esperance struck twice again, courtesy of defensive errors by the away side. The tie ended 4-3 on aggregate and Primeiro’s manager bemoaned a hostile environment with lit flares, limited visibility, noise and explosives in the stadium by the home fans.

It was everything but not football, many things happening off the field, bombs exploding off the field, there was an invasion of the pitch 20 came onto the field, It is a shame for me it’s a shame for the organisation - it’s not like football it’s like a terror film.
— Zoran Manojlovic, Primeiro de Agosto Manager
Al Ahly's Ahmed Mohammed celebrates his winning goal during the international friendly match between AS Roma and Al Ahly on May 20, 2016 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.  (May 19, 2016 - Source: Chris Whiteoak/Getty Images Europe)

Al Ahly's Ahmed Mohammed celebrates his winning goal during the international friendly match between AS Roma and Al Ahly on May 20, 2016 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

(May 19, 2016 - Source: Chris Whiteoak/Getty Images Europe)

In the other semi-final, the most successful club in the history of the competition, Al Ahly cruised into the final after seeing off ES Setif of Algeria, 3-2 on aggregate. The Egyptian club opened the scoring in Algeria to triple their advantage before ES Setif scored two second half goals to fight back. It was all too little to late for Setif, as Al Ahly booked a consecutive final spot. The Red Devils will be looking to put behind the disappointment of the 2017 Champions League final loss to Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

The 2018 CAF Champions League final will be two legged, to be played on the 2nd of November in Egypt before the return leg, a week later in Tunisia.


Who are you rooting for?