Confederation Cup 2013: Sfaxien hungry to win third crown

CS Sfaxien coach Ruud Krol

CS Sfaxien of Tunisia are aiming to remain the most successful club in the Confederation Cup this weekend when they host TP Mazembe in the first leg of the final.

Sfaxien have won Africa's second-tier club competition twice - in 2007 and 2008 - and were runners-up in 2010, when they were narrowly beaten by Morocco's FUS Rabat 3-2.

Royal Armed Forces of Morocco and another Tunisian club Etoile du Sahel have each won the competition once and have also been beaten finalists on one occasion.

Mazembe, on the other hand, are making their first appearance in the final of the competition after they won four Champions League trophies in 1967, 1968, 2009 and 2010.

And the Democratic Republic of Congo club's French coach Patrice Carteron believes their opponents are a stronger side.

"Sfaxien are a better team than us. They are fantastic as I have watched several of their matches," said Carteron, who guided Mali to the semi-final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

TP Mazembe coach Patrice Carteron
Carteron had played down his side's chances of victory

"But we will give everything to win this trophy for the club president (Moise Katumbi)," said the 43-year-old, a former defender for French sides Rennes, Lyon and Saint-Etienne.

The Congolese champions reached the final after they defeated 2009 winners Stade Malien of Mali 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.

Sfaxien won an all-Tunisia semi-final against CA Bizertin 1-0 on aggregate thanks to a 43rd-minute winner from Idrissa Kouyate in the return leg away from home.

They will be led by Dutch coach Ruud Krol (pictured, top), who has stepped down as Tunisia coach after they failed to go past Cameroon for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

Saturday's match takes place at the Rades Stadium near Tunis. The government has allowed for a crowd of up to 30,000 but there are concerns about empty seats as ticket sales have been slow.

Sfaxien, who were reinstated to the competition after Nigeria's Enugu Rangers were thrown out for fielding an ineligible player, have been forced to play at the ground because their own pitch is "a sand pit", according to Krol.

Defender Ben Mahmoud Salad is the only major injury doubt for the Tunisian club, who will next year feature in the more prestigious Champions League after they won the Tunisian league.

The second leg will be played on Saturday, 30 November with the overall winners pocketing total prize money of $660,000 (nearly 500,000 euros).

They will also face Champions League winners Al Ahly of Egypt in the Confederation of African Football Super Cup early next year.

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