South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs is hours away from facing Al Ahly in the 2021 CAF Champions League final in Casablanca, Morocco. The event will be Chiefs’ biggest ever match since the club was formed in 1970.
Chiefs is sub-Saharan Africa’s most-followed club with an estimated 16 million followers in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Lesotho, Malawi, and Mozambique.
The club known as Amakhosi or The Glamour Boys, is South Africa’s most successful club with 50 domestic trophies, though Mamelodi Sundowns are the most successful in league football with 14 titles, while Chiefs has 13.
Unlike Orlando Pirates and Sundowns, Chiefs have never reached or won the CAF Champions League trophy. Pirates claimed continental glory in 1995, while Sundowns became champions in 2016. The national banter around South African townships has been years of humiliation for Amakhosi.
Chiefs previously held the unsavory reputation of being the African giant with no ambition or strength to succeed in Africa, until this season.
With a poor domestic form in 2020/21, no trophy won and a ninth finish in the league, it is no surprise Chiefs scraped through to the CAFCL final, which included coach Gavin Hunt losing his job on the eve of the semi-final second leg against Wydad Casablanca. Saturday’s final will see Stuart Baxter making his second debut for the club since leaving in 2016 after winning two league titles.
From the 14 games en route to the final, Chiefs won six games, drew five, and lost two. Four of the six wins were 1-0 results. Saturday night’s opposition is the most feared club on the continent with an extraordinary 48 Egyptian titles and Africa’s greatest club with a record nine CAF CL titles.
Ahly is also coached by South Africa’s very own Pitso Mosimane, who delivered Sundowns’ first-ever CAFCL title in 2016, while also winning it last season in his first season with the Egyptians.
The two sides will battle it out in the neutral venue of Stade Mohammed V, Casablanca, Morocco at 19:00 GMT.