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CAF Confederation Cup

We’ll Compound Rangers’ Woes, Says Zesco Coach

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While Nigeria’s Enugu Rangers appear to still be in disarray following an unimpressive 2-2 draw at home in their first leg CAF Confederation Cup play-off with Zambia’s Zesco United, the Zambians are already set to excel.
Rangers still have the dust over their technical crew to settle. But according to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Zesco United, “straight from landing, went for training at the trade fair grounds in Ndola.”
The report has it that Enugu Rangers were expected to arrive on Friday afternoon for the Saturday match.
Zesco United’s Serbian coach, Zlatko Krmpotic remarked that the team was preparing adequately to ensure that they qualify to the group stage of the CAF confederations cup.
Krmpotic added that he will not pay any attention to what was happening in Enugu camp following the firing of their coach after the 2- 2.
This is a good result for us but it is only the first leg,” Krmpotic said. “What is important for me is only how my team plays and not about Enugu Rangers.
“We still have 90 minutes to play and it will be different at home and I think we have the ability to win the final leg and qualify to the group stage.”
He however complemented Enugu Rangers as a good side.
Sports Village Square gathered that the coach believed Zesco United’s 2017 CAF Confederation Cup Group stage dream was within touching distance.
Zesco stunned hosts Enugu Rangers of Nigeria on Sunday, to deny them a win with two late second half goals, when the Zambian club rallied from two-down to finish 2-2 in a Confederation Cup, pre-group stage, first leg match.
A scoreless draw at home on Saturday, at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, will see Zesco qualify to the group stage in May on away goals rule.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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CAF Confederation Cup

Nigeria’s Samson Adamu signs Algeria’s USM match forfeiture

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It is now official and has moved from the realm of speculations. Algeria’s USM Alger have forfeited their home match in the cancelled CAF Confederation Cup semi-final first leg duel with Morocco’s RS Berkane.

An official letter signed by Nigeria’s Samson Adamu has been addressed to the Algerian Football Federation (FAF). Adamu is CAF’s Director of Tournaments and Events.

In the ;etter dated April 24, 2024 and sent to Nadir Bouzenad, the General Secretary of FAF, the English translation reads:

Algerian Football Federation (FAF)

 Subject: Match No 129 USMA (Algeria) vs.  RS Berkane (Morocco) of the TotalEnergies Confederation Cup 2023/2024

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 At its meeting held on April 24, the Committee for the Organization of Interclub Competitions and the Management of the Club Licensing System decided the following:

 1. Sanction Club USMA with a forfeit of 0-3 for match no.129 USMA (Algeria) vs RS Berkane (Morocco) of the TotalEnergies Confederation Cup 2023/2024.

 2. Submit the case to the Disciplinary Jury for possible additional sanctions.

 3. The return match RS Berkane (Morocco) vs USMA (Algeria) of the TotalEnergies Confederation Cup 2023/2024 – at the Municipal Stadium of Berkane – 8:00 p.m. (local time) on April 28, 2024 is maintained.

It is however doubtful if USM will honour Sunday’s return match as Algeria pulled out of an Arab Handball Championship for the same reason that scuttled the CAF Confederation Cup match last Sunday.

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The Algerians pulled out of a scheduled handball fixture against Morocco because of the map of the Moroccans’ shirts. Pulling out of the Confederation Cup return leg may also attract further sanctions as CAF has indicated.

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CAF Confederation Cup

BREAKING! CAF awards abandoned Confederation Cup semi-finals to Morocco’s RS Berkane

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Algeria’s USM Alger will have a mountain to climb if they honour the return leg of the Confederation Cup match against Morocco’s RS Berkane on Sunday. Governing body, CAF according to Moroccan outlet, sport.le360, has awarded the cancelled first leg match of last Sunday to RS Berkane as the host team that made the match impossible was declare loser with three goals against.

That is the outcome of the CAF inter-club competitions committee meeting. The match in question did not hold as Algerian authorities confiscated the jerseys of the Moroccans on the ground that they have outline map of Morocco that included a disputed southern province.

CAF had before the match the the jerseys in question are legitimate and had been worn in other matches before now. Algeria declined to accept the ruling.

It is however doubtful if the Algerians will honour the return leg as the Moroccans expectedly will wear the jerseys in dispute on their home ground.

The Algerians have reportedly withdrawn from the Arab U17 Handball Championship on account of having to face Morocco whose shirts will undoubtedly have the kingdom’s full map.

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CAF Confederation Cup

Dreams FC dreams coming true? … secure goalless draw against Zamalek in Cairo

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Ghana’s team in the CAF Confederation Cup, Dreams FC, is living up to their name. The continental debutants are indeed dreaming dreams. If this is a dream, please don’t wake them up. They have just upset one of the powerhouses in Africa.  

The Egyptian giants Zamalek failed to make their dominance count as they were held to a goalless draw by  Dreams FC in the first leg of their  Confederation Cup semi-final in Cairo on Sunday.

The White Knights enjoyed the better of the chances in Cairo but lacked a cutting edge in the final third against their well-organised opponents.

Portuguese coach Jose Gomes will be concerned by his side’s profligacy ahead of next Sunday’s return in Kumasi, where an away goal for Dreams could prove pivotal.

Zamalek applied plenty of early pressure, with Shikabala, Mostafa Shalaby and Ahmed Hamdi all going close to breaking the deadlock before the midway point of the first half.

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Dreams goalkeeper Solomon Agbasi had to be alert to keep out efforts from Shikabala and Travis Mutyaba as Zamalek’s wastefulness in front of goal continued.

The visitors started to gain a foothold and went close through John Antwi, whose powerful strike was well blocked by the impressive Hossam Abdelmaguid.

Shalaby was replaced by Benin international Samson Akinyoola at the break but Zamalek’s frustrations mounted, with the hosts struggling to carve out clear-cut openings.

Akinyoola dragged an effort wide before Shikabala forced a smart save from Agbasi as the offside flag repeatedly came to Dreams’ rescue.

There was still time for Ibrahima Ndiaye to rattle the crossbar late on, but ultimately Zamalek could not find a way through the stubborn Ghanaian rearguard.

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Dreams will fancy their chances of reaching the final on away goals if they can shut out Zamalek again in Kumasi next weekend.

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