AS Vita and ES Setif make Champions League history
DR Congo club AS Vita and Algerian side ES Setif have made history in CAF Champions League by qualifying to the finals of this year’s edition.
This year’s CAF Champions League final opponents have come as a surprise to many. But in football, at times you can’t tell the end until the referee blows his final whistle. Since the conception of the competition in 1964, these two sides are the only teams in Africa’s most prestigious club football to qualify to the finals after winning the first leg 2-1.
Finally a 50-year-old record has being broken. No one would have thought AS Vita and Setif would be the teams to do this, as many powerhouse African teams still exist. This therefore defines the unpredictability part of football.
AS Vita club didn’t have a very smooth journey since the first round knockout stage of the competition. But they are now close to the ultimate, after a hard earned effort. The Black Dolphins’ journey to the CAF Champions League finals is an inspiring one indeed. They were not in good financial standing but still went ahead to participate in the competition. And the most astonishing one is that it got to a time when they had to divide their team into two for a league game in Algeria.
This was because of the nearness of their domestic league and Champions league games. The Kinshasa based club defeated CS Sfaxien 4-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals, to qualify for the grand finale.
Another captivating encounter was the game between two-time champions TP Mazembe and ES Setif of Algeria. TP Mazembe were tournament favourites as the Black Eagles were the ‘underdogs’. Setif are a successful club in Algeria’s domestic league but not as much so in the CAF Champions League as the Ravens of DR Congo; eliminating such a team from Africa’s prominent club competition is a feat. The two-legged semi-finals between the two ended in a 4-4 draw, but the Black One made the grade with the away-goal rule.
The dream of some football fans to witness an-all North African affair in the finals between CS Sfaxien and ES Setif has being shattered. Also a section of football pundits, who wished for a final between two teams from the same country (TP Mazembe and AS Vita club), are left disappointed.
As Africa is the only continent not to have seen such a finale before in its Champions League.
This signifies that history is not made from heaven but through the actions of man.