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CAF Confederation Cup

South Africa soccer club officials held in Libya over unpaid bills

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Two South African football club officials who have been held in Libya for more than two weeks over unpaid bills will not be allowed to travel home until the debt is settled by Premier Division side Marumo Gallants, officials said.

Gallants team manager Rufus Matsena and physiotherapist Dina Dhlomo were kept back in Libya after the club failed to settle their hotel bill and other expenses incurred when they travelled for an African Confederation Cup tie in Benghazi on March 19.

They were not allowed to leave the hotel while the club still owed the establishment money, club officials told Reuters.

In a statement on Monday, Gallants said they were negotiating a settlement over what they termed a “financial dispute” while football officials told Reuters that the South African government had stepped in to try and settle the affair.

“Marumo Gallants management are in contact with the two employees, who have confirmed that they are safe and waiting for the matter to be settled,” the club said on Monday.

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Gallants are struggling at the bottom of the league in South Africa but confounded expectation by qualifying for the group stage of the Confederation Cup and then going on to win their group.

The travel costs to matches in Algeria, Libya and Zambia left the club short of cash and they were given help by provincial authorities this weekend to cover the expenses of staging their last group game in the competition, which was hosted in Soweto, Johannesburg on Sunday, officials said.

The trip to Libya last month was described as a “nightmare” by the club’s English coach Dylan Kerr, including three days holed up in transit in Istanbul while waiting for onward tickets to Libya to be bought.

They eventually flew to Benghazi on the day of the match, but arrived after the scheduled kickoff time. That was pushed back by three hours and the team went straight from the airport to the stadium where they lost 4-1. They arrived without their kit and had to get a new strip to play in.

Their hosts Al-Akhdar were not informed of the late arrival of their opponents, nor the decision by the Confederation of African Football to postpone the kickoff time. They arrived at the stadium to find no referee, no officials and no opponent.

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Kerr told Reuters he had been tremendously proud of the resilience shown by his players amid all the adversity.

-Reuters

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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