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CAF Super Cup Preview: Al Ahly (EGY) v USM Alger (DZA)

Taif, Saudi Arabia will play host to the 2023 CAF Super Cup on Friday evening with CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly of Egypt facing off against CAF Confederation Cup holders USM Alger of Algeria. Both teams have lost some key players who were important to the successes of the previous season but there are also plenty of arrivals who can make an instant impact on Friday evening. Read more on both teams below in Pan-Africa Football’s preview of the match which kicks off at 18:00 UTC.

Al Ahly are high on confidence heading into Friday’s clash. Head coach Marcel Koller discovered the winning formula for Africa’s most successful club after taking over before the 2022-23 season and the expectations will be high once again this year. Koller discussed his high level of respect for the USM Alger team but is eager to continue winning trophies with Ahly and will expect to capture another. New signing Anthony Modeste will not be available because the French striker cannot be registered until the club begins play in the CAF Champions League but another forward, Reda Slim, is available despite a suspension that will be served in the Champions League from his time with Moroccan club ASFAR.

Otherwise it will be a largely familiar team from last season. Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy will be joined by fellow national team players Mohamed Hany (right back) and Mohamed Abdelmonem (central defense). Tunisian veteran Ali Maâloul is a set piece expert at left back while Marwan Attia and Mali national team member Aliou Dieng will be the important players deep in the midfield. A dynamic attack will feature Kahraba, Percy Tau and Hussein El Shahat who all found great success last season.

Percy Tau and Kahraba (above) formed an excellent attack for Al Ahly last season along with Hussein El Shahat

USM Alger head coach Abdelhak Benchikha (left) created an excellent atmosphere in the USMA camp last season thanks to the leadership of captain and central defender Zineddine Belaïd (right)

For USM Alger, head coach Abdelhak Benchikha has concerns regarding the status of a couple of important players. Goalkeeper Oussama Benbout arrived late in Saudi Arabia after spending time with the Algeria national team but his status is questionable. Midfielder Oussama Chita is another key player along with defender Adem Alilet who are questionable for the match. Despite the circumstances, Benchikha’s team has a strong defense to rely on that is capable of making things difficult for the more talented and experienced Ahly team.

Leading the strong USMA defense is captain Zineddine Belaïd who is entering his fourth season with the club. Right back Saâdi Radouani is another player who impressed in the Confederation Cup last season and if goalkeeper Benbout is unable to play, new signing Kamel Soufi is the likely candidate to play after arriving from MC Oran.

Brahim Benzaza is an expert on corner kicks and deliveries from set pieces and Khaled Bousseliou is a wide player who was important in the Confederation Cup. In the attack, Botswana national team forward Tumisang Orebonye provides a physical presence but more goals will be expected from him this season after the departure of Algeria national team forward Aymen Mahious for Swiss football. Another option to score goals is Ismail Belkacemi whose production has declined since scoring seventeen goals during the 2020-21 Algeria Ligue 1 season.

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