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Pirates’ conqueror to manage ex-PSL stars in Sudan

Coach Florent Ibenge, who masterminded RB Berkane’s 5-4 post-match penalty win over Orlando Pirates in the Confederation Cup final on May 20 2022, has joined Al-Hilal Omdurman in Sudan.

The Congolese has left the Moroccan side, Berkane, and will now be managing former DStv Premiership stars Gerald Phiri Junior and Abdul Ajagun at the Sudanese Premier League champions.

“Al Hilal reaches an agreement with Congolese Florent to occupy the position of technical director,” the Sudanese side tweeted on Wednesday.

Ibenge has replaced Joao Motta, barely two weeks after the Portuguese coach guided Al Hilal to the Sudanese Premier League championship in the debut season for the former Baroka FC playmaker Phiri and former Cape Town City midfielder Ajagun.

The Congolese mentor has signed a three-year contract with Al Hilal, barely days after steering Berkane to the Kings Cup glory, to finish the season with a double in Morocco.

The new coach, who won Berkane the continental silverware barely a year into the job, has been tasked with transferring Al Hilal’s domestic league dominance into continental silverware.

The Omdurman-based team has usually fallen short of standards for competing with the big boys of African football, such as Wydad Athletic and Al Ahly.

In Ibenge, the Sudanese Premier League champions have a tactically astute mentor whose track record includes winning the African Nations Championship title with the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016.

Ibenge will now lead Al Hilal, who, alongside Khartoum, cross-town rivals Al Merrikh, will represent Sudan in the 2022-2023 CAF Champions League.

The 60-year-old also guided DRC to a respectable third-place finish at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals while doubling as the coach of AS Vita in Congo.

Meanwhile, Abdul Muhaimin Al-Amin, Director of the Football Department, has announced that the club has given the team’s players a two-week break before resuming preparations for the new season.

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