19 May. 2023
Egyptian powerhouse Zamalek and Angolan star-studded side Petro de Luanda were crowned the winners in the men's and women's 39th African Cup Winners Clubs Championship, which took place in Cairo, Egypt, between 9 and 18 May.
Zamalek, who were aiming to avenge their loss against archrivals Al Ahly from the final of the CAHB African Super Cup only days before the start of this competition, had an outstanding performance throughout the whole tournament, winning seven games out of the seven they played.
Qualified without a shadow of a doubt in the quarter-finals, Zamalek took a clear 48:24 win over Ethiopian side Kirkos in this stage of the competition and doubled down on that win in the most balanced match of their tournament against fellow Egyptian side Sporting.
In a crunch semi-final, Zamalek finally emerged victorious (25:24), setting up a mouth-watering final against Al Ahly, which sealed their place in the last act with a 45:23 win over DR Congo's Jeunesse Sportive de Kinshasa in the quarter-finals and a 36:23 win over Morocco's Raja Agadir in the semi-finals.
Eventually, Zamalek clinched the trophy with a 26:25 win over Al Ahly, a superb win only days after the Egyptian side changed their coach, as Mateo Garralda was replaced after the previous loss against Al Ahly.
Zamalek extended the domination of Egyptian sides in the competition, with either them or Al Ahly winning six out of the last seven editions of the Men's African Cup Winners Clubs Championship.
Moreover, Zamalek edged closer to becoming the most decorated team in the competition's history, as they secured their seventh title, only two trophies shy of the all-time record set by Algerian side MC Alger, which dominated the competition in the mid-1990s.
In the women's competition, Petro de Luanda wrote history and became the most decorated side in the history of the Women's African Cup Winners Clubs Championship, winning their 10th title, the first team to secure titles in double digits.
It was the third consecutive title won at the Women's African Cup Winners Clubs Championship for the Angolan side, which dominated their opponents and ended the competition on a high with a six-game winning streak.
After a flawless group phase, Petro de Luanda earned a 33:22 win over Ivorian side Habitat HBC, while in the semi-final, they had to sweat to clinch a finals berth with a 25:21 over Al Ahly, the Egyptian side, which finished on the third place, earning the bronze medal in the competition.
In the final, Petro de Luanda met archrivals Primeiro de Agosto, rekindling their rivalry, which had previously seen Petro clinch a 29:26 win in the CAHB Super Cup in the first weekend of May.
Once again, after a hard-fought game, Petro de Luanda sealed a 20:17 win in a highly competitive match, sealing their third title in a row and the 10th in their history, as Primeiro de Agosto are still third in the all-time standings, with four titles under their name.
Photo: African Handball Federation