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CAF Confederation Cup

Confederation Cup runs into crisis as Moroccan players of RS Berkane are stranded at Algerian airport following seizure of jerseys and equipment

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RS Berkane players stranded at the Houari Boumediene Airport in Algeria.

Algerian authorities have reportedly confiscated the Morocco’s RS Berkane’s  equipment due to the jerseys’ depicting a complete map of Morocco with the southern provinces.

Officials of Morocco’s RS Berkane club delegation, stranded at Houari Boumediene Airport in Algiers, have demanded the return of their jerseys and sports equipment confiscated by Algerian security forces before entering Algerian territory, Moroccan outlet Le360 reported.

According to Morocco World News, this development comes after RS Berkane was denied entry into Algeria Friday morning because their jerseys displayed a complete map of Morocco, including its southern provinces.

The team was then left stranded at Houari Boumediene Airport, with images circulating online showing RS Berkane players performing Friday prayer at the airport.

The outlet quoted a source close to the team as saying that its officials threatened not to participate in the upcoming CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals against Algerian club Union Sportive Medina d’Alger if Algerian security authorities refuse to return their equipment.

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The move is part of a broader trend of Algeria’s attempts to undermine Morocco diplomatically, particularly in the Western Sahara issue.

Later today, a meeting took place between representatives of Union Sportive Medina d’Alger and RS Berkane, along with delegates from the Confederation of African Football (CAF). 

However, RS Berkane officials were “compelled” to withdraw from the meeting after Algerian security forces forcibly entered the venue, Le360 reported.

According to the same source, RS Berkane officials were surprised by the security forces’ intrusion into the meeting, which disrupted the planned discussions. They refused to carry on with the meeting due to the presence of security officials, especially since the meeting was solely focused on sports affairs.

Le360 added that Algerian authorities demanded that RS Berkane place stickers on the player’s jerseys to cover up the full map of Morocco as a condition to enter Algerian territory. However, the Moroccan team’s officials strongly rejected the proposal, considering it absurd and inappropriate.

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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.

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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