Sat, 25 Sep 2021

In a twist of home-grown fate, this year's CAF Champions League final is guaranteed to see a South African lift the prestigious continental trophy.

Flying the SA flag are Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs, who will contest their first-ever African club final impressively in their maiden campaign.

While fellow South African, Pitso Mosimane leads their opponents - the competition's most successful team - Al Ahly under the guise of the Egyptian flag.

It will be only the third time that a South African team contests the competition's finals, since its establishment in 1997.

Saturday's final is already a historic occasion for Arthur Zwane's Chiefs side - especially taking into account their domestic struggles - who could engrave their first star onto their club crest.

From a domestic perspective, SA teams have admittedly under-performed on the continental stage - for varying reasons - in previous years.

Arduous away trips across the vast African continent, hostile receptions, accompanied by even worse playing conditions in most parts and if SA teams were honest, perhaps a lack of ambition all contributed to below par resuts.

Since 2016, as Mamelodi Sundowns were crowned champions - coincidentally under the tutelage of Mosimane - it perhaps ignited the desire of other SA teams to aspire to emulate Masandawana's achievements.

Those burning ambitions have now almost come full circle as the CAF Champions League trophy will one way or other be draped in the rainbow colours of the South African flag.

Saturday will be the third occasion that an SA team will feature in Africa's most prestigious club final.

Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs scores a goal dur

Here Sport24 looks back at the previous occasions that a local team contested in the competition's final.

Orlando Pirates - 2013

Champions in 1995, when the competition was known as the African Cup of Champions Clubs, Orlando Pirates contested the 2013 final.

It was the 49th edition of Africa's premier club football tournament and the 17th edition under the current CAF Champions League format.

The final was contested in a two-legged home-and-away format as the Buccaneers faced Al Ahly of Egypt.

The first-leg was hosted by Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium on 2 November 2013, while the second-leg was hosted by Al Ahly at the Osman Ahmed Osman Stadium in Cairo on 10 November 2013.

The winner earned the right to represent the CAF at the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup, as well as play in the 2014 CAF Super Cup against the winner of the 2013 CAF Confederation Cup.

After the first leg ended in a 1-1 draw, Al-Ahly won the second leg 2-0, and were crowned African club champions for a record eighth time.

Orlando Pirates players reacts after loosing the t

Mamelodi Sundowns (champions) - 2016

The 2016 CAF Champions League Final, the 52nd edition of the tournament, and the 20th edition under the current format was contested by Sundowns and Egypt's Zamalek.

In a two-legged home-and-away format, the first-leg was hosted by Sundowns at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria on 15 October 2016.

While the second-leg was hosted by Zamalek at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria on 23 October 2016.

The winner earned the right to represent Africa at the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup as well as play in the 2017 CAF Super Cup against the winner of the 2016 CAF Confederation Cup.

Mosimane's Sundowns defeated Zamalek 3-1 on aggregate to win the competition for the first time in its history.

Mamelodi Sundowns players pose with the CAF Champi

Source: News24

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