A CAF Champions League season stacked with shocks will produce another on Saturday if first-time finalists Kaizer Chiefs beat nine-time winners Al Ahly in Moroccan economic capital Casablanca.
Many among the millions who support Egyptian and African giants Ahly believe the outcome is not in doubt at Stade Mohammed V, their only question is the victory margin for the Mohamed el Shenawy-captained Cairo Red Devils.
Yet Chiefs were rank outsiders when the competition kicked off last November and the South African club have already defied massive odds to reach the final.
Although they are two of the biggest names in African football, the teams have met just once, with Ahly winning 4-1 in the one-off 2002 CAF Super Cup match in Cairo.
Ahly reached the 2021 final by winning eight matches, drawing three and losing just one, away to shock Group A winners Simba in Tanzania at the mini-league stage.
Winners of a record 21 CAF titles in four competitions, the Cairo club have scored 23 goals, including five from leading scorer Mohamed Sherif, and conceded just six en route to Casablanca.
They are guided by South African Pitso Mosimane, a childhood Chiefs fan who will tie five-title Tunisian Faouzi Benzarti as the most successful African coaches in CAF club competitions if Ahly triumph.
He chooses his team from a mix of Egyptian, Tunisian, Malian and Nigerian stars and, since replacing Swiss Rene Weiler last September, has won 36 of 50 matches in all competitions, drawn 10 and lost four.
His stars include El Shenawy, widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in Africa, full-back Ali Maaloul, midfielders Aliou Dieng and Mohamed ‘Afsha’ Magdy and forward Sherif.
Although Mosimane has ample TV footage of Chiefs, he still labels the Soweto side “mysterious” and “difficult to analyse”.