After dispensing with USGN in the preliminary round, Al Ahly struggled through a group stage including Mamelodi Sundowns (who won the group) and the Sudanese pair of Al Merrikh and Al Hilal.
The Egyptian giants then took down Raja Casablanca 3-2 in the quarterfinals and really hit their straps with a 6-2 demolition of ES Setif in the semifinals.
The Cairo club is looking to win a record-extending 11th CAFCL title and become the first team to win the African crown for a third successive season.
“If we can make history, it will be a great thing for this club and the players,” said coach Pitso Mosimane. “But we know we are coming up against a very strong opponent and we will have to prepare well.”
Wydad’s path to the final has seen them overcome Hearts of Oak (preliminary round), top their group ahead of Zamalek, Sagrada Esperanca and Petro de Luanda, before narrowly ousting CR Belouizdad 1-0 in the quarterfinals, and then claim a 4-2 triumph over Petro in the semifinals.
The Moroccan club is a two-time CAFCL winner and has been one of the most consistent teams in this top-tier continental competition, reaching the semifinals or better in five of the last six seasons.
Wydad coach Walid Regraui says he is not worried by the controversy of CAF selecting their home ground as the venue for a one-off final: “We are ready to play anywhere. CAF decided to play the final in Morocco and we should respect their decision. It is not important for us where the final will take place. We are ready to play in Dakar, in Istanbul or in any other place. We earned four away wins in this edition and we are ready to grab a fifth.”
Percy Tau – The South African forward had a hand in all six of Ahly’s goals in the semifinal against ES Setif and will be looking to wreak havoc amongst Wydad’s defence. If Tau can hit his straps, the Red Devils will be favourites for a third successive African crown.
Aymane Hassouni – The 27-year-old midfielder is the brains behind Wydad’s play, orchestrating their passing moves and providing the creative spark when something a little unorthodox is required to break down a defence.
In head-to-head stats, Al Ahly and Wydad Casablanca have met in 10 matches dating back as far as 2016. The Red Devils have claimed four wins compared to two for the Red Castle, while four games have been drawn.
The teams last met in the semifinals of the 2019-20 CAFCL, with Ahly claiming a 5-1 aggregate victory. However, their previous meeting in a final of the continental competition was won 2-1 on aggregate by Wydad.
Pitso Mosimane v Walid Regraui – Mosimane has already made history by guiding Ahly to three successive finals (a feat Manuel Jose also achieved with the club in the mid-2000s) but he will need to be at his sharpest to get the batter of a canny and determined Regraui.
Mohamed Abdelmonen v Guy Mbenza – The Ahly centre-back has been one of African football’s emerging stars in 2022 and he will be tasked with keeping a lid on the explosive talent of Wydad’s Congolese striker Mbenza.
Hussein El Shahat v Yahya Jabrane – Two cultured and attack-minded midfielders, El Shahat and Jabrane will battle for control of possession in the ‘engine room’ and look to give their team an upper hand in what should be a very closely-contested final.
CAF Champions League final broadcast details
All times CAT
Monday 30 May
21:00: Al Ahly v Wydad Casablanca