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Football

Pedigree meets Ambition in CAF Confederation Cup final

CAIRO

As RS Berkane and Zamalek SC prepare to lock horns in the second-leg of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup final, the two coaches vying for the title – Moine Chaabani and José Manuel Gomes – have become the centre of attraction thanks to the tactical acumen.

Chaabani, the seasoned Tunisian tactician, finds himself on the cusp of securing the coveted title, bolstered by the 2-1 advantage gained in the first leg. 

Since taking the helm at Berkane in February 2024, Chaabani has orchestrated an impressive run, guiding the team to 8 wins, 4 draws, and 3 losses in 15 matches across all competitions. Notably, his side remains unbeaten in the Confederation Cup, with 3 wins and 2 draws.

Chaabani’s wealth of experience, coupled with his previous success at Espérance Sportive de Tunis, where he clinched back-to-back TotalEnergies CAF Champions League titles (2017-18, 2018-19) and 5 Tunisian league crowns, makes him a formidable force on the touchline. 

Berkane’s journey to the final included awarded victories over USM Alger, and Chaabani is now focused on guiding his team to their third title in history (2019-20, 2021-22).

The second leg takes place at the Cairo International Stadium, where a win or draw will secure the trophy for Berkane and cement Chaabani’s status as one of the most decorated coaches in African football.

On the opposing bench, Zamalek SC faces an uphill task, trailing 2-1, but a comeback win would secure their second Confederation Cup title. 

The Egyptian giants previously triumphed in the 2018-19 edition, defeating Berkane in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 aggregate score.

Under the guidance of Portuguese coach José Manuel Gomes, who took over in February, Zamalek has recorded 8 wins, 3 draws, and 4 defeats, including a loss to Al Ahly SC in the Egyptian Cup final. 

However, Gomes remains unbeaten in the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup, with 4 wins and 2 draws in 6 matches, including a 3-0 semi-final win over Dreams FC.

To claim his first silverware with Zamalek and in Africa, Gomes must mastermind a victory in the second leg at the Cairo International Stadium. 

His previous major honour was a Super Cup triumph with Al Ahli Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

A win would represent a significant achievement for Gomes and Zamalek, as they seek to overturn the deficit and claim the Confederation Cup title, setting the stage for a thrilling clash of tactical acumen between the experienced Chaabani and the ambitious Gomes.

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