The quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League feature five clubs from North Africa, two from South Africa and one from the east, Tanzania. It is almost a battle between North and South, with the first leg kicking off on Friday 14 May (7 pm UTC) with one of the two North African duels on the program, Mouloudia d'Alger vs Widad Casablanca.
Reigning champions Al Ahly know that retaining the trophy will be difficult. Already in the group stage, despite winning nine times, they have struggled to get through. In the quarter-finals they will face Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
This is the third year in a row that the two sides have met at the same stage of the competition. Each team has qualified at the expense of the other, with the South Africans winning in 2018-2019 before being knocked out the following year by the Egyptians.
The reunion between the two teams will have a special flavor for the coach of the Egyptian team, South African Pitso Mosimane. He was on the other bench a few months ago. A regular at major events, he won the Champions League in 2016 with Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Maghreb derby
The team that wins this duel between the Egyptians and the South Africans will meet the winner at the semi-final between Esperance de Tunis (EST) (4 titles) and Chabab Belouzidad of Algeria. A North African derby that promises sparks.
The Tunisian champions are favorites. But they will face a formidable Chabab Belouzidad who have not lost away in the Champions League this season. The Algerian club is also losing very little this year in the league.
In the last ten years, Algerian clubs have been rather successful against EST (only three defeats in eighteen matches and only one elimination in direct confrontation), but statistics are made to be countered.
The Tanzanian 'intruder
In the other half of the table, Tanzania's surprise package Simba Sports Club will face Kaizer Chiefs, the second South African representative at this stage of the competition. The Tanzanians are the only "intruders" in these quarter-finals, which will be a battle between the north and south of the continent.
Finally, Mouloudia d'Alger, seven-time Algerian champions and winner of the Champions League in 1976, will play their first quarter-final since 2011. It will cross swords with another big name, Wydad Casablanca (2 titles). This match, scheduled for Friday 14 May, opens the first leg of the quarter-finals. The second leg will take place on Saturday 22 May.
QUARTER-FINAL PROGRAM (UTC)
Friday 14th May
7pm MC Alger 1-1 Wydad Casablanca
Saturday 15th May
4 pm Kaiser Chiefs vs Simba Sports Club
CR Belouizdad vs Espérance of Tunis
7 pm Al Ahly vs Mamelodi Sundowns