It will be the first-ever Caf Champions League final for Kaizer Chiefs as they’re hoping to triumph and earn the gold star on their badge while Al Ahly are playing their 14th.
The road to final
Chiefs knocked out Simba SC and Wydad Casablanca in quarterfinals and semifinals respectively, while Al Ahly eliminated Mamelodi Sundowns and Esperance Sportive de Tunis in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Can Chiefs end a six-year cup drought?
Chiefs are hoping to lift their first major silverware since 2015. Their woes in cup finals started in the 2015/16 season when they were humbled by Ajax Cape Town and Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN 8 final and Telkom Knockout final respectively. In 2019, they were stunned by then second division club TS Galaxy when they were overpowered in the Nedbank Cup Final.
The last coach to win silverware with Chiefs was Stuart Baxter when they lifted the Absa Premiership trophy in the 2014/15 season. At the end of the same campaign, the Scottish coach left the Soweto giants for greener pastures to Turkish team Gençlerbirliği Spor Kulübü.
Baxter has just returned to take reigns as the head coach of Love and Peace after they sacked Gavin Hunt. The champions league final might be his first match with the team if he gets a work permit before the game. Overall, the 67-year-old coach won two Absa Premiership titles, the Nedbank Cup and MTN 8 in his 2012 to 2015 stint with Amakhosi. Can he bring back joy for the Gold and Black fans?
Stuart Baxter vs Pitso Mosimane head to head
Baxter might be on the touchline against Al Ahly’s head coach Pitso Mosimane for the 11th time in history. Let’s take a look at their last 10 meetings:
Baxter won three (two wins as Chiefs’ coach and one as SuperSport United’s) while Pitso won five (All as Sundowns’ coach) and two games ended in a stalemate.
Al Ahly are the cup holders and want to defend it
Meanwhile, the Reds are aiming to defend the title and it’s always hard to snatch the trophy from the holders. Chiefs will have to put in a double effort if they want to be the champions.
If The Club of The Century succeed in keeping the title, it will be their tenth in history.
What did the coaches say about the match?
Pitso Mosimane (Al Ahly’s Head Coach)
Jingles said Chiefs must earn the star if they want it because he won’t hand it out to them. If he wins it, it will be his second with Ahly and third for him in total including the one he won with Downs.
“It’s either I want to give the medal to Baxter or I want to keep it, and I think you all know the answer to that,” Mosimane told SA Football Journalists Association (SAFJA).
“We are not a welfare or charitable organisation handing out stars. Everybody must earn it. Al Ahly want to win their own la decima, they call it the el ashra here, and Kaizer Chiefs want to get their own star,” he added.
Arthur Zwane (Chiefs’ Assistant coach)
Amakhosi’s assistant coach Arthur Zwane will be the man to take charge if Baxter’s papers are not sorted prior to their game.
What’s 10111’s reaction to the encounter?
He’s convinced that the game favours no one and it’s going to be fair for both teams – immense confidence from Zwane.
“So it’s gonna be a 50/50 situation – it boils down to one thing, who is going to take their chances, and if you take your chances, the situation will favour you,” Zwane told Idiski Times
Billiat and all Chiefs’ players availability for selection
One of the crucial players that the Glamour Boys have been missing, Khama Billiat might be available for selection after being out of action from April due to injury. His contract with the club ran out at the end of June 2021. However, Kaizer Chiefs corporate communications manager Vina Maphosa confirmed the availability of all players ahead of the Al Ahly encounter, including those whose contracts expired at the end of June.
“Everybody is available for the final. It means they have worked out something. What I have on my notes is that everyone is available for the final – that’s all that I have‚” said Maphosa as per Sowetan Live.
What are the prizes
Outside the trophy, the winner of the match will be awarded the prize money of $2.5 million, while the runners-up will collect $1.25 million.
When is the match and where to watch it?
The match will be played on the 17th of July 2021 at the Stade Mohammed V, Casablanca in Morroco with Kick-Off at 21:00. It will be televised live on SuperSport channel 202 in South Africa according to the broadcaster.