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CAF Confederation Cup

CAF Confederation Cup: Day of Reckoning for Rivers United

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BY SAMMY WEJINYA

 

The CAF Confederation Cup enters its Match Day four as Nigeria’s Rivers United take on Uganda’s Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). With every team in Group A winning its home match, nothing less is expected from Rivers United.

It is a make or break time for Rivers United.  The section is extremely tough-looking with all four teams in the group, FUS Rabat (Morocco), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA, Uganda), Club Africain (Tunisia) and Rivers United (Nigeria) peerless at home thus far.

This makes Tuesday’s game at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium Port Harcourt one that leaves little margin for error, for the Nigerian side especially, as any result other than an outright victory could mean curtains as far as their aspirations of reaching the quarter finals of the competition are concerned.

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KCCA won the reverse fixture 2-1 at the Phillip Omondi Stadium (Lugogo), Kampala on June 3; a result that lifted them from bottom to second place on the log; such are the fine margins in this group!

Head coach of KCCA, Mike Hillary Mutebi acknowledges that things are evenly poised on a knife edge in the group and that goals difference could represent a tie-breaker eventually.

“We have not been effective so far as we should have won the (reverse fixture) 5-2. The result in Lugogo was not a true reflection of our dominance,” Mutebi told our official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.

“The (issue) of goals difference is worrying so we have to try to outscore the opponent. In all our away games in the Confederation Cup, we have only failed to score against FUS Rabat and El-Masry; we always score away from home.

“Rivers United is a very good team but we (KCCA) are confident we can rub shoulders with them because we have tested the best,” he said.

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Mutebi however frowned at what he called ‘time-wasting’ tactics employed by the Nigerian club in the first leg; sentiments echoed by his captain, Denis Okot Oola.

Okot however agreed with his coach that the ‘Pride of Rivers’ represents a solid proposition that could cause them more than a few problems on Tuesday.

“Rivers United have experienced players. (Bolaji Sakin) is huge and experienced and can outrun defenders. I expect them to play differently in Nigeria,” Okot said.

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

Zamalek win African Confederation Cup on away goals

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Zamalek claimed the African Confederation Cup on away goals after a 1-0 win over Renaissance Berkane in the second leg thanks to Ahmed Hamdy’s first-half strike on Sunday.

The final ended 2-2 on aggregate following the return in Cairo with the Egyptian giants taking the trophy after scoring an away goal in last Sunday’s 2-1 first leg defeat in Morocco.

Hamdy swept the ball home after 23 minutes when Berkane failed to clear a corner but there were chances for both clubs to add more goals.

The Moroccan side finished down to 10 men when defender Hamza El Moussaoui was sent off in added time.

Sunday’s victory ensured Zamalek’s second success in the Confederation Cup. They beat Berkane on penalties after drawing the 2019 final 1-1 on aggregate.

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Egypt can complete a double in the African club competitions on Saturday when Zamalek’s arch domestic rivals Al Ahly host Esperance of Tunisia in the Champions League final second leg. The first leg in Tunis on Saturday ended goalless.

-Reuters

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CAF Confederation Cup

Shehu Dikko, Okey Obi get important roles at Confederation Cup final match

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The duo of Shehu Dikko and Okey Sylvanus Sylvanus Obi, both Nigerians have been appointed as Match Commissioner and Security Officer in Sunday’s final match of the CAF Confederation Cup in Cairo.

Dikko, the former chieftain of the governing body of the Nigeria Premier League is already in Cairo for the final match which pitches Zamalek SC against visiting Morocco’s RS Berkane.

Also already is Okey Obi is in Cairo. He is also the chief legal officer at the Nigeria Football Federation.  

The referee of the match is Issa SY. He handled the quarter-final match of Nigeria and  Angola in the Africa Cup of Nations last February. He will be assisted by compatriots, Djibril Camara and Nouha Bangoura. The fourth official is  Omar Abdulkadir Artan of Somalia.

  The Referee Assessor is Victor Miguel de Freitas Gomes of South Africa while  Joshua Robert Knipp, also of South Africa, is the General Coordinator for the match.

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The Video Assistant Referee is Pierre Ghislain Atcho of Gabon. Aliou Goloko of Senegal the initially designated Media Officer who was reportedly unavailable, has been replaced by Egypt’s Mohamed Elsesy.

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CAF Champions League

BREAKING: CAF adopts Yoruba name, “Ola” for official match ball!

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Confederation of African Football, CAF, has adopted a Nigerian language name of its official match ball for the interclubs competitions. Ahead of this weekend’s blockbuster line-up that sees Africa’s top clubs battle for  CAF Confederation Cup and CAF Champions League top honours, the confederation and its matchball producers, PUMA have unveiled a new match ball called “OLA.”

 In a press statement, CAF explains that “OLA,” means “wealth,” “honour,” and “respect” in Yoruba, and “rise” and “success” in Arabic. It explained that the name was chosen to symbolize the dynamic and energetic nature of African football.

Embodying the spirit of Africa, Ola’s design is inspired by the continent’s vibrant colours, art, and traditions.

OLA will be used this weekend – starting in Tunis when Espérance Sportive de Tunis hosts Al Ahly of Egypt in the first leg of the  CAF Champions League Final and on Sunday when Zamalek hosts RS Berkane in the second leg of the  CAF Confederation Cup final at the Cairo International Stadium. 

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