Pirates' CAF Confederation Cup final opponents: RS Berkane - who are they?

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Egypt's Zamalek player Mohamed Ibrahim clashes with Morocco's RSB Berkane player Amine El-Kess (C) during the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup final at Borg El Arab Stadium near Alexandria on May 26, 2019. (AFP)
Egypt's Zamalek player Mohamed Ibrahim clashes with Morocco's RSB Berkane player Amine El-Kess (C) during the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup final at Borg El Arab Stadium near Alexandria on May 26, 2019. (AFP)
  • Orlando Pirates lock horns with RS Berkane on Friday in the CAF Confederation Cup final.
  • The Moroccan club started from humble beginnings to slowly stake their claim in Africa.
  • The club also went through several name changes since being founded in 1938.

After snatching one last chance at silverware, Orlando Pirates are on top of the world.

The Soweto giants have been inconsistent in their challenge for DStv Premiership honours and failed in the two domestic cups.

However, Pirates history playing in Africa has seen the club trot to the CAF Confederation Cup final.

On Sunday, their 2-1 aggregate win against Libyan outfit Al Ahli Tripoli secured a flight to Nigeria, who will play host for the fixture at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium (kick-off is at 21:00 SA time).

The Buccaneers will lock horns against Renaissance Sportive de Berkane.

But who are they?

The club was founded in 1938 in Berkane, Morocco.

However, the club underwent several name changes as it was previously known as Association Sportive de Berkane (1938-53), Union Sportive Musulmane de Berkane (1953-66) and Union Sportive de Berkane (1966-71).

RS Berkane

Club name: Renaissance Sportive de Berkane

Home stadium: Stade Municipal de Berkane (10 000-seater)

Chairman: Hakim Benabdallah

Current Coach: Florent Ibengé

In 1971 the club merged with another team called Chabab Riadhi de Berkane, and Renaissance Sportive de Berkane was then born.

Today, the club is referred to as Nahdat Berkane or RS Berkane.

Nicknamed the Orange Boys, their first-ever title win came in 2018 as they lifted the Moroccan Throne Cup six years after returning to the Botola Pro 1 (premier league division).

In the 2017/18 Confederation Cup, Berkane surged to the quarter-finals before stumbling, but the following season went all the way to the final. There they lost to Egyptian giants Zamalek.

Berkane used that defeat as fuel and went a step further during the 2019/20 season, winning the competition for the first time in the club's history.

Current coach

Since July 2021, Berkane has been mentored by former defender Florent Ibenge, who was born in the Republic of the Congo.

In his 24-year playing career, Ibenge walked out for four French teams, namely, Tennis Borussia Berlin (1979-80), Excelsior Roubaix (1985-93), US Boulogne (1993-98) and ES Wasquehal (1998-2003).

Ibenge has coached all over since retiring, but is notably known for guiding DR Congo to the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

The 60-year-old has two runners up medals with AS Vita: 2013/14 CAF Champions League and 2017/18 CAF Confederation Cup. 

He has also guided Congo to a third place finish in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

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