Al Ahly chase another record

Al Ahly of Egypt are expected to confirm their position as the leading football club in Africa by lifting the CAF Super Cup for a record fourth time later today.

The Cairo 'Red Devils' host CS Sfaxien of Tunisia at the 75,000-seat Cairo Stadium in the annual one-off match between the holders of the CAF African Champions League and the second-tier CAF African Confederation Cup.

Playing at home gives the Champions League winners a major advantage with the last underdog to succeed being Etoile Sahel of Tunisia 11 years ago, who won a penalty shoot-out against Raja Casablanca in Morocco.

Al Ahly captured the Champions League a record sixth time last November with a 4-2 aggregate triumph over Cotonsport Garoua of Cameroon, and they now share the Super Cup record of three victories with arch domestic rivals Zamalek.

Injury blow for champions
Biggest concern for the Egyptians ahead of a repeat of the 2006 Champions League final will be the absence of star midfielder Mohamed Aboutraika, who failed a late test on a muscle injury.

African Footballer of the Year finalist Aboutrika scored the injury-time goal in Tunisia three years ago which gave Al Ahly a 1-0 victory, after Sfaxien had defied the odds by forcing a 1-1 draw in Cairo.

Fellow midfielder and flu victim Mohamed Barakat was excused from training early in the week as a precaution, but is considered a likely starter for the game.

Al Ahly have experienced mixed fortunes since defeating Cotonsport, finishing sixth in the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2008, but bounced back with five consecutive national league wins before being held 2-2 by lowly Al-Gaish.

Sfaxien became the first club to successfully defend the Confederation Cup last November, drawing 2-2 at compatriots Etoile Sahel after a goal-less first leg of the final.

A hero of the Cup success, Ghanaian striker Agyemang Opoku, has moved to the Middle East but replacement Ousmaila Baba from Cotonsport has settled quickly with 'Juventus'.