Hefty cash prize awaits Wydad Casablanca's Msuva

26Jun 2021
Ismail Tano
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Hefty cash prize awaits Wydad Casablanca's Msuva

MOROCCO's Wydad Casablanca president, Said Naciri, has promised to hand over more than 18m/- as a bonus to each of the outfit's players if they knock South Africa's Kaizer Chiefs out this season's CAF Champions League's last four.

Simon Msuva

The promise to the Wydad Casablanca players has come out following the challenge they face in their quest for progression to the final of the premier continental soccer competition at the club level.

Wydad Casablanca, which has Tanzanian forward Simon Msuva, lost 1-0 to Kaizer Chiefs in the first leg of the last four, played in Morocco last week.

The North African football big guns therefore must emerge victorious, when the squad faces Kaizer Chiefs today if the former needs to book a place in the final.

In the first leg match held in Casablanca last weekend, the club conceded 1-0 to Kaizer Chiefs.

Kaizer Chiefs' only goal in the game, which was not attended by fans, was scored by their Serbian striker, Samir Nurkovic, in the first half.

Wydad Casablanca should be looking for either a 2-0 victory or more than the mentioned scoreline, to secure a place in next month's Champions League final.

This season's tournament final is scheduled to be played at King Mohamed V Stadium, which is used by Wydad Casablanca as their home ground.

This means if they succeed to make it to the showpiece's final, they will have the advantage of playing at home against winners of the other semi-final pitting Egypt's Al Ahly against Esperance de Tunis.

In the two outfits' first leg, which took place at Esperance's backyard, Al Ahly posted a 1-0 victory over the former.

The second leg match, which is to take place today, will take place at the  Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.

In another development, Kaizer Chiefs’ CAF Champions League semi-final second leg tie against Wydad Casablanca, slated for today, will be handled by yet another referee from Francophone Africa.

Jean-Jacques Ndala Ngambo is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country with the largest French-speaking population on the continent.

Aged 34, he has been blowing the whistle on the international stage since 2013 and was one of three referees from Africa at the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

On the continent, he has officiated at AFCON, CHAN, U-20 AFCON, and has run the rule in numerous CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup matches.

The CAF has already included his name in the six referees pre-selected for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Ethiopian referee, Bamlak Tessema Weyesa, will be the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) on Saturday, taking over from Bakary Papa Gassama from English-speaking Gambia, who oversaw the VAR in Casablanca.

It was Gassama’s VAR that overturned the match officials’ decision to initially rule out Samir Nurkovic’s goal which ultimately made the difference.

Weyesa, who holds a degree in sociology from Addis Ababa University, is a popular figure on the continent for the way he has always handled games since becoming a FIFA accredited official in 2009.

Chiefs’ game away at Wydad last Saturday was also handled by a cast of officials from Francophone Africa– Senegalese referee Maguette Ndiaye was assisted by countrymen El Hadji Malick Samba and Nouha Bangoura, with Issa Sy as the fourth official.

Through the years, officiating on the continent has been a subject of much controversy.

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