Ahly and Esperance fight for Africa's Club World Championship ticket
The winners of the final will clinch the title and book a ticket to the prestigious FIVB event in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in May. The bronze-medal match will take place between two Tunisian teams: Sfax and Etoile du Sahel.
Ahly, who hold the record for the number of titles won, will be seeking their 11th championship to add to the ones they took in 1980, 1983, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2011. Only three players remain from the squad that won the last title three years ago.
Ahly cruised through Preliminary Pool D with four straight victories – over Ahly Tripoli (LIB), Prisons (CMR), FAP (CMR) and Beau Vallon (SEY) – dropping only one set, against the Libyan side.
They continued their victory rhythm by beating Algeria's Bourj Bouarrirj in the quarterfinals before getting past their biggest hurdle in the semifinals when they overcame defending champions Sfax after an epic tiebreaker.
Esperance, who won the Arab Club Championship last month, will be seeking their fourth trophy after 1994, 1998 and 2000 to complete the triple of the Tunisian, Arab and African championships.
Their line-up includes seven current national team players plus Russian Alexander Sorokltove and they are very keen to recapture a title they haven’t won in 14 years.
Esperance took Pool C with five straight victories – over Ahly Benighazi (LIB), GSU (KEN), Port (CMR), Nemostars (UGA) and Mugher Cement (ETH) – losing only one set on the way in the quarterfinals. They defeated Setif (ALG) in the quarters before eliminating organizers Etoile du Sahel in the semifinals.
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