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CAFCL Preview: AS Vita Club (DRC) vs. Wydad AC (MAR)

Kinshasa side AS Vita Club need nothing less than a victory to remain in contention in Group A of the CAF Champions League but Les Dauphins Noirs will have to go through defending champions Wydad AC when the teams meet at the Stade Alphonse Massemba-Débat in Brazzaville on Saturday. VClub’s defeat to Algeria’s JS Kabylie has left the Congolese team needing points as they currently sit in last place with three points from four matches, four behind second placed JSK. A draw or victory will secure a quarterfinal spot for Wydad who lead Group A with nine points.

VClub continue to show promising moments but the results are not there for the historically successful club from the DRC. Head coach Raoul Shungu knows his team are at a disadvantage because VClub are active only in the Champions League currently as DR Congo’s domestic league continues to be delayed with no matches played in 2023. However, the Muscovites will be eager to take advantage of a Wydad team that is depleted due to several injuries.

Marouf Tchakei scored a serious contender for Goal of the Competition against JSK and continues to improve his form. The Togolese playmaker was overlooked for his national team but Shungu will hope this sparks the former ASKO Kara player to put in an excellent performance. VClub’s attack continues to struggle but a strong defense can keep Wydad off the scoresheet with Farid Ouédraogo a secure presence at the goalkeeper position along with central defender Varel Rozan and veteran leader Patou Ebunga at left back.

Wydad head coach Juan Carlos Garrido is leading a stretch of improved form for the reigning Moroccan and African club champions but the Spaniard has plenty of headaches when it comes to his selection for Saturday’s match. Veteran attacker Aymane El Hassouni was added to the list of unavailable players, joining midfielder Reda Jaadi, defender Houcine Benayada and also the continued absences of forwards Zouheir El Moutaraji and Hamid Ahadad.

Garrido will have Libya national team star Muaid Ellafi to call upon, however, after his gradual return from a long-term injury. The 27-year-old made his first start since a knee injury during Wydad’s 3-0 victory over IR Tanger in league play and the multiple injuries provide an opportunity for Ellafi to play an important role along with in-form felow winger Mohamed Ounajem. Junior Bouly Sambou is becoming the scoring presence Wydad needs after an indifferent start for the Senegalese with six goals in his last five matches. Wydad will remain a strong opponent on Saturday and are eager to clinch qualification for the quarterfinals with a match to spare.

More on both teams is in the links below.

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