Who Will Take Africa's Biggest Prize?
The semi-finals of Africa's Champions League are under way and there will be new champions of the Continent this year after the sensational disqualification of holders TP Mazembe.
The DR Congo club lifted the trophy in 2009 and 2010; more significantly, they became the first African side to reach the final of the World Club Championship in 2010 when they ousted Internacional of Brazil in the semi-finals.
Chasing a hat-trick in 2011 they were derailed by a complaint over an illegal player registration. This threw the competition open and the biggest beneficiaries are Wydad Casablanca of Morocco. They were comfortably beaten by TP Mazembe over two legs but were reinstated and won a special play-off to reach the group stage.
In only their second apperance in the competition Wydad got out of the group at the expense of Continental giants Al-Ahly of Egypt and now have a semi-final to look forward to.
Wydad Casablanca are the new boys in the last four but there is plenty of experience in the other three contenders. Al-Hilal of Sudan have been knocking on the door persistently in recent seasons. The squad from Omdurman reached two semi-finals and a quarter-final from 2007-2009.
Also in the mix are Enyimba from Nigeria - Continental champions in 2003 and 2004 - and the unlucky Esperence of Tunis. ES Tunis were finalists in 1999 and 2000 and three times semi-finalists from 2001-2004. Last season they returned to the final only to be hammered by TP Mazambe. Their only title-winning season came back in 1994.
The newcomers from Casablanca are paired against Enyimba and pulled off another surprise with an 89th minute winner in the first leg in Morocco. Enyimba remain favourites but Wydad might be beginning to think this is their year.
It looks like another near miss for Al-Hilal after Esperence came away with a hard-won 1-0 victory in Omdurman under sweltering conditions. After being battered 6-1 by TP in last year's final, ES Tunis are in no mood to let this one slip. Al-Hilal are formidable at home but travel less well.
An all-North African final is on the cards, although Enyimba will fancy their chances of denying their Moroccan opponents. If ES Tunis finish the job against Al-Hilal they will certainly start the final as favourites to finally take the top prize.