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Two Sudanese football teams qualify for African championship

October 17 - 2022 BENGHAZI / KHARTOUM
Football team El Hilal win match against Young Africans, qualifying them for group stage of CAF Championship (Photo: Social media)
Football team El Hilal win match against Young Africans, qualifying them for group stage of CAF Championship (Photo: Social media)

Two Sudanese football teams, El Merrikh and El Hilal, qualified for the CAF Champions League group stage this weekend, which will take place from February 10 to April 1, 2023, according to the Confederation of African Football. 

After losing to El Ahly Tripoli 1-3 at the Martyrs of February Stadium in Beghazi, Libya, on Saturday, El Merrikh passed through to the group stage based on away goals. 

El Merrikh advanced with an early goal, scored by captain Ramadan Ajab, from a penalty kick. El Ahly won two goals in quick succession towards the end of the first half. In the second half of the game, the El Merrikh defence withstood continuous offensive pressure, including a penalty kick. Despite this, goalkeeper Mohammed Mustafa let in one goal, which took the overall score to 1-3. 

El Hilal won their match against the Young Africans on Sunday 1-0 in Khartoum, also qualifying the team for the group stage of the annual club competition. Mohamed Abdelrahman’s goal in the third minute was the vital winner for El Hilal. 

The teams confirmed to qualify for the group stage so far are Sudan’s El Hilal and El Merrikh, Horoya (Guinea), Simba SC (Tanzania), Coton Sport (Cameroon), Vipers SC (Uganda), Al Ahly SC (Egypt), Raja CA (Morocco), JS Kabylie (Algeria), Esperance Tunis (Tunisia), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), Petro Luanda (Angola), Zamalek (Egypt), and CR Belouizdad (Algeria). 

El Merrikh SC is a Sudanese football club based in Omdurman. Founded in 1908, El Merrikh is one of the oldest football clubs in Africa, and have won the Sudan Premier League 16 times and Sudan Cup 14 times. El Hilal SC, its main rival football club, is just over the road and is current defending champion of the Sudan Premier League. 

The wins come two weeks after Sudan was expelled from regional qualifiers for the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations, as wrist scans showed some of its players were over the age limit. Fifa began conducting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in 2009 to calculate the ages of players.


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