Kenyan Premier League Champions Tusker FC will begin their CAF Confederations Cup today against Arta Solar 7 in Djibouti.
On paper, Tusker might be the favorites for the tie owing to their past experience and history in football but going by the type of players their hosts have at their disposal, they don’t look like a team that should be taken lightly.
So who exactly is Arta Solar 7?
Founded thirty years ago, the club has had several names due to sponsorship reasons. They are based in Arta, Djibouti and play their home games at the 20000 capacity El Hadj Hassan stadium.
They have won the Djibouti Cup and Championship on several occasions, notably in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
This will be their debut in the CAF Champions League but they have featured in the Confederations Cup before. Their first appearance in the competition came in the 2018/19 season where they were eliminated by Kenyan side Kariobangi Sharks in the preliminary round with a 9-1 aggregate.
Their second was in the 2019/20 season where, just as the first, they were eliminated in the preliminary round by Sudan’s Al-Khartoum n a 4-1 aggregate. By winning the Djibouti Premier League last season, they will be representing their nation in the Champions League this season.
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Since then, they have made tremendous strides in the footballing world thanks to their owner Tommy Tayoro Nyckoss who doubled up as their manager until the appointment of Cameroonian Libiih Thomas recently. Late last year, the Ivorian who is the son-in-law of Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh was valued at $ 6,5 billion thanks to his investments in the Aviation industry.
In their ranks are players who have featured for some of the best leagues in world football. Veteran Cameroonian goalkeeper Carlos Kameni is expected to be between the sticks when they take Tusker FC. The keeper who has 74 caps for his nation has previously featured for Laliga side Espanyol and Malaga and Turkish giants Fenerbahce.
Others include defender Dany Nonkeu who has 18 caps for the Cameroon national team having spent most of his career in Turkey with Gaziantepspor, Galatasaray, Bursaspor, Akhisarspor, Besiktas, and Granada; the player having had a stint with French side Toulouse.
Former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Alex Song is their captain with the team roping in the services of Burkina Faso’s Alain Traore who spent most of his career in France with the likes of AJ Auxerre, Brest, Monaco, and Lorient. Former West Ham striker Diafra Sako, who has 13 caps for the Senegal national team is another player in their ranks.
The team has been hailed for killing the dominance by FC Dikhil and improving the standards of Djibouti’s soccer with their football training center based in the country’s capital. While their main players might be past their best, their experience is something that Tusker cant take for granted in their two-legged affair.
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