Sunday, March 26, 2023
Sunday, March 26, 2023

CAF CL: Can Florent Ibenge and his Al Hilal pass Young Africans test?

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If there is one team hoping to make a huge impact in this year’s CAF Champions league, it might probably be the 29 times Sudanese Champions Al Hilal Omdurman.

Al Hilal hopes to make a huge impact in this year’s CAF Champions League as they appoint 60-year-old Congolese experienced tactician Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibengé in June 2022 to oversee the whole project of the club aim to win the CAF Champions League for the first time in the club history.

Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibengé

Ibenge is an experienced coach who spent his early coaching career in France, managing ES Wasquehal and SC Douai.

He was manager of the Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua from April to May 2012 and the Congolese team Vita Club from February 2014.

He became manager of the DR Congo national team in August 2014, combining this role with his job at Vita Club.

He won Bronze with the Leopards of Dr. Congo in the 2015 African Cup of Nations hosted by Equatorial Guinea after beating the host nation to place 3rd.

Ibenge again led the DR Congo local National team to the 2016 African Nations Championship, winning the title in February 2016.

He resigned in August 2019 from the Congo national team. After that, he returned to AS Vita Club. He has three Congolese titles to his credit at As Vital club in 2014, 2015 and 2020 and again placed 2nd in the 2014 CAF Champions League, losing the ultimate to Algerian side E.S Setif.

He led As Vital Club to place 2nd in the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup, losing again in the finals against Raja Casablanca of Morocco.

In July 2021, he became manager of Moroccan club RS Berkane where he won the Moroccan throne cup in 2021 and again led the side to win the 2021/2022 CAF Confederation Cup in Uyo- Nigeria, on penalties against Orlando Pirates of South Africa.

Al Hilal Omdurman

Al Hilal has also boosted their team with a record transfer of 8 players joining their team this season.

Imoro Ibrahim, an experience left-back who won the 2021/2022 Ghana Premier League title with Asante Kotoko, has joined the team with a figure of around 150 thousand dollars, according to sources from Ghanaian media with add- on’s.


Imoro provided 8 assists in the Ghanaian league making him one of the best players for Asante Kotoko and the Ghana Premier League. He was part of the Ghana local National team known as Black Galaxy.

Again, Congolese Right winger Makabi Lilepo joined the team from Ibenge former team, AS Vital Club, for a figure of around 200 thousand dollars.

Young Goalkeeper Issah Fofana, age 19 of Ivorian side As San Pedro, Senegalese left winger 19-year-old Lamine Diadhiou of Casa Sports, Angola international Vidinho of Pedro Luanda, Centre forward Waleed Bakhet Hamid of Kuwait side Al Arabi, Central Midfielder Claude Singone of Asec Mimosas, Right back Atthar Eltahir of Sc Smouha of Egypt has all joined the team.

The team will also be inspired by captain Mohamed Abdelrahman Yousif Yagoub, the Goalking for the Sudan premier league, who has also scored 16 goals for the Sudan National team.

Al Hilal needs to beat off stiff competition from Tanzanian Champions Young Africans, popularly known as Yanga, in the last round of the preliminary stage of the CAF Champions league.

Yanga will host Al Hilal on Saturday at the 60,000-capacity stadium of Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium at 1:00 pm.

Young Africans

Yanga is also hoping to qualify for this year’s CAF Champions League group stages for the second time since 1998 when they made it to the group stages.

Yanga eased past South Sudan side Zalan with a 9-0 aggregate margin after beating them 5-0 at the famous Benjamin Mkapa National stadium and winning the 1st leg 4-0.

Congolese import Fiston Kalala Mayele is in the form of his life for Yanga as he has scored a double hat-trick against Zalan both at home and away.

Ghanaian danger man Bernard Morrison will be fully fit for this fixture after missing the Zalan test through illness.

Head Coach Nasreddine Nabi and Yanga are in the form of their life after they have gone 30 matches unbeaten, winning 22 in the process and drawing just 8. They have scored 35 goals in 16 home matches in their unbeaten run.

Al Hilal struggled to eliminate Ethiopian Champions saint George’s in the 1st round of the CAF Champions league, eliminating their Ethiopian counterpart in an away goal rule, Losing the first leg in Ethiopia 1-2 and unconvincingly winning the return leg at Al Hilal stadium by 1-0 through a penalty.

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