CAF Champions League Final: Lessons from North Africa

Good morning

The city of Rades in Tunisia have been agog since referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa blew the final whistle last night in a heated CAF Champions League final encounter between two North African sides, Al Ahly Sporting Club and eventual winners, Esperance Sportive de Tunis.

The first leg was marred by poor officiating as center referee, Mehdi Abid Charef, made a mess of football officiating with many of his calls on the night and Al Ahly had a 3-1 advantage to take to the reverse fixture but a spirited display from Esperance saw them see them off 4-3 on aggregate after a 3-0 bashing of the record champions.

Here are a few of what that game must have taught us all who saw it;

North Africa plays a different kind of football. What was on display on both legs should be reason enough why teams especially from Nigeria should go into away games especially against North African opposition with “morale” and “liver”. We could see all the antics come to fore with simulations, a certain level of physicality and some subtle bullying. A perfect game plan can thwart all these when you’ve got the right players with the right attitude and the right mentality.

Our league isn’t bad, it’s just African. You can say all you wish but what was on display over two legs was below what our game in Kano this just concluded season offered. I think we need just a little more consistent and conscious determination for improvement matched with actions. I think we need to fix a few things which might translate to many and we might get an All NPFL CAF Champions League final. I will berate some of the officials, the teams and even the fans on the way they carried themselves. It was meant to be an advert for African football but I don’t think I can invest in such kind of football unless it’s what the fans who filled the stands enjoy such game but I think we all need to improve here.

Last but not the least, Football is not a game of luck and you don’t just leave things to chance. Both teams came with game plans, and got results. Al Ahly had a chance to hold their own and maintain their 2-goal lead but arrived Tunisia and decided not to play and maybe bank on luck, but Luck isn’t a footballer. If we just hope that players can just get results even when a team is set up in a way that they can’t, we’ll always end up requiring the services of a referee to decide our matches.

Congratulations to Esperance of Tunisia! Enjoy your success and we hope you don’t disgrace Africa in December. Congratulations again.

Maybe today wasn’t strictly for Enyimba matters but everyone must’ve gleaned from this.

This post was written by Chinatu Jon

Back tomorrow



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