On Sunday, Algerian club Entente Setif showed remarkable sportsmanship by allowing a delegation from cash-strapped CAF Champions League opponents Fortune FC of Gambia to share a flight to North Africa. The Gambian side pulled off a stunning 3-0 preliminary round first leg triumph in Bakau near Banjul this weekend as they debuted in the elite African club competition.
But after celebrating goals from Ebrima Camara, Patrick Sylva, and Alieu Barry against two-time African champions Setif, Fortune admitted they lacked the funds to play the return match.
Had they not traveled to Setif, a city 270 kilometers (168 miles) southeast of Algiers, Fortune would have been disqualified, and Setif awarded a walkover into the round of 32.
Meanwhile, the Algerians of Setif arrived in Bakau Independent Stadium on board taxis because the Gambian organization of the match did not provide Setif players and their staff with a… bus.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a CAF official told AFP the Algerians refused to take advantage of the Gambians’ financial woes and, instead, allowed them to fill vacant seats for the return flight.
Fortune officials did not immediately comment on how the club would pay the players to return home from Algeria.
Clubs must win one or two home-and-away ties to reach the CAF Champions League group stage, where the prize money begins with qualifiers guaranteed a minimum of $550,000 (465,000 euros).
If Fortune eliminates Setif and causes one of the biggest shocks in CAF Champions League history, they will meet ESAE of Benin or Nouadhibou of Mauritania for a place in the 16-club group phase.