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CAF Confederation Cup

CAF Confederation Cup awaits new winner

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USM Alger star Aymen Mahious (R) playing for Algeria against Senegal in the African Nations Championship final.

A new name will be engraved on the CAF Confederation Cup trophy this season as the Moroccan near monopoly of the competition comes to an end.

In the semi-final first legs on Wednesday, Young Africans of Tanzania host Marumo Gallants of South Africa and ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast entertain USM Alger of Algeria.

The line-up contains several surprise qualifiers and is unusual in that the dominant region in African club football — the north — has only one representative.

Moroccan clubs Raja Casablanca and Renaissance Berkane each won two of the previous five finals with Egyptian outfit Zamalek the other side to win the African equivalent of the Europa League.

AFP Sport introduces some of the stars who could play key roles in deciding which teams advance to the final.

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Menacing Mayele

Young Africans forward Fiston Mayele has scored 12 goals this season in the two CAF club competitions — the Champions League and Confederation Cup.

A 28-year-old from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he bagged seven goals in the Champions League, including two hat-tricks.

When the Dar es Salaam outfit were demoted to the Confederation Cup, he continued to torment rivals, scoring the two goals that eliminated Rivers United of Nigeria in the last round.

Red-hot Chivaviro

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Ranga Chivaviro of Marumo is the joint leading scorer in the Confederation Cup with six goals, and will appreciate the hot weather forecast for the first leg against Young Africans.

“I spent six months playing for a club in Kosovo two years ago and could not get used to the cold conditions,” said the 30-year-old.

His quarter-final first-leg header against Pyramids in Egypt earned Gallants an unexpected draw, and a solitary goal gave the South Africans victory in the return match.

Twin threats

It is 24 years since ASEC last experienced African glory by defeating Tunisian giants Esperance to lift the CAF Super Cup one season after winning the CAF Champions League.

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Now, the goals of Aubin Kramo and Pacome Zouzoua have brought the Abidjan outfit to the brink of another final appearance.

Kramo has netted four times and Zouzoua on three occasions as ASEC hope to become the third west African winners of the competition after Hearts of Oak from Ghana and Stade Malien of Mali.

Beware Mahious

Sharpshooter Aymen Mahious experienced heartbreak this year as hosts Algeria lost a penalty shootout against Senegal in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) final.

He was one the stand-out players in the tournament for home-based stars, scoring the only goal in each of three group victories and winning the Golden Boot with five goals.

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Mahious has proven equally threatening in the Confederation Cup by netting three times — one of four USM players to achieve that feat in the African campaign.

History seekers

Young Africans, Marumo, ASEC and USM are carrying the hopes of four countries who have never lifted the Confederation Cup since its introduction in 2004.

South African clubs Orlando Pirates (twice) and SuperSport United have lost finals while a similar fate befell Algerian trio Entente Setif, Mouloudia Bejaia and JS Kabylie.

Sewe Sport were the only finalists from the Ivory Coast, losing to Egyptian giants Al Ahly in 2014, while Young Africans are the first Tanzanian side to get beyond the quarter-finals.

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-AFP

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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