The 2018-19 CAF Champions League has reached its group stage without a Liberian club team, but Liberians can still cheer for two of their international stars, Anthony Laffor and William Jebor.
The South African-based forward, Laffor, saw his team qualify for the group stage after he scored to help his side, the Mamelodi Sundowns, overcome Ahli Benghazi of Libya. Meanwhile, Jebor’s Wydad Casablanca also reached the group stage despite a second leg defeat to Jaraaf de Dakar of Senegal.
Laffor’s Sundowns did not play in the first leg with Al Ahly, which ended 0-0. The South African side returned home stronger for the return leg as they went on to grab a 4-0 win in Pretoria. Goals from Laffor and three of his teammates were enough to send the Sundowns to the group stage with a 4-0 aggregate win over Al Ahly Benghazi.
Laffor had provided an assist with a cross from the right side of the pitch in the 35th minute, before getting himself on the scoresheet in the 51st minute.
The Sundowns became the first South African team to win the CAF Champions League when they beat Egyptian side, Zamalek SC 3-1 on aggregate in 2016.
On the northern side of the continent, Jebor’s Moroccan club, Wydad Casablanca, nearly missed out on reaching the group stage. Wydad had defeated Jaraaf de Dakar 2-0 at home in the first leg, with Jebor scoring once. However, the Moroccans lost 3-1 away in the return leg. They, however, progressed to the group stage on the away goal rules after the aggregate score was tied 3-3. Keeping a clean sheet at home and scoring away helped Jebor’s Wydad reached the CAF Champions League group stage.
Laffor’s Sundowns will play Nigeria’s Lobi Stars on January 11, while Jebor’s Wydad Casablanca will play the Ivorian ASEC Mimosas on the same day. The two teams are among 16 teams that qualified for the 2018-19 CAF Champions League group stage.
Featured photo by T. Kla Wesley Jr.