ES Setif are on the cusp of a trophy their own federation doubted they could win as they face Vita Club in the CAF Champions League final.
After a 2-2 draw in Kinshasa in the first leg of the showpiece, the Algerian side are close to their second triumph in Africa's top club tournament.
But if their own national federation officials had their way, they would have been withdrawn before kicking a ball as they were considered not good enough for the competition.
"National football federation officials wanted us to pull out for scheduling reasons and also because it was felt our club would not be very competitive in Africa," Setif coach Kheireddine Madoui admitted.
"We lost a lot of our squad this year and had to rebuild."
The inexperienced coach and his team soon proved their worth when they kicked off the tournament with a 5-0 thumping of ASFA Yennenga and have gone on to lose only once in 13 Champions League matches ahead of the second leg of the final.
Setif also boast one of the best home records in the Champions League since their 1987 debut: winning 20, drawing five, losing just one and keeping 18 clean sheets.
But the Algerians' coach has warned that Vita will be no pushovers having already triumphed away over North African opposition.
"Our supporters must remember that Vita Club went to Tunisia in the semi-finals and won 2-1 against CS Sfaxien," Madoui said.
"What drawing in Kinshasa did for us was create opportunities and the backing of our supporters could be crucial."
AS Vita have been inspired by some of their crucial away wins during the competition, according to their young Ugandan striker Junior Yunus Ssentamu.
"We have picked vital wins away from home including the 1-0 win over Zamalek in Egypt in the group stage," Ssentamu said.
"We know what to expect in Algeria and we know what kind of side we are facing.”comments