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CAF Confederation Cup Finals: Five Facts And Figures

CAF Confederation Cup facts and figures ahead of first leg of the 2023 final between Young Africans of Tanzania and USM Alger of Algeria in Dar es Salaam on Sunday:

– First-time winner –

Young Africans and USM are regular African campaigners, but both will be appearing in the Confederation Cup final for the first time.

In eight previous appearances, the Tanzanian team never got further than the group stage, which they reached in 2016 and 2018.

USM have fared slightly better than their fellow finalists, qualifying for the 2018 quarter-finals before losing at home and away to Egyptian side Al Masry.

– Algerian pain –

USM are the fourth Algerian club to reach the Confederation Cup final, with the other three all falling at the last hurdle.

Entente Setif built a 2-0 lead over Stade Malien of Mali in 2009, but lost the return match by the same score, and the resultant penalty shootout.

Mouloudia Bejaia suffered a 5-2 aggregate loss to TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016 and JS Kabylie fell 2-1 to Raja Casablanca in a single-match 2021 title decider.

– Advantage USM? –

Traditions suggest USM may have the edge over Young Africans in the struggle for the two million dollars (1,865 mn euros) first prize.

The club playing away first has lifted the trophy 10 times in 16 two-leg finals before the format was changed to a single match for three seasons from 2020.

Teams like USM who began the African season in the Confederation Cup —┬árather than be demoted from the Champions League like Young Africans — have triumphed in 12 of the 19 finals.

– Contrasting squads –

Young Africans have a multi-national team coached by Tunisian Nasreddine Nabi while USM Alger boss Abdelhak Benchikha relies almost exclusively on local talent.

When the Dar es Salaam outfit beat hosts Marumo Gallants of South Africa in the second leg of a semi-final, six of the starters were foreigners, including three from DR Congo.

USM fielded 10 Algerians in the starting line-up against ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast in the other return match, with Botswana forward Tumisang Orebonye the only ‘outsider’.

– Tight affair –

A close final is on the cards, judged by the 19 previous title deciders in a competition first staged in 2004 and won by Hearts of Oak from Ghana.

Five were decided by penalty shootouts, three by away goals and, in eight cases, a single goal separated the teams.

Record three-time winners CS Sfaxien of Tunisia (2007) and Mazembe (2016) were the only convincing victors, having three goals to spare over their rivals.

 

AFP

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