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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group B head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


John Obi MIKEL of Nigeria during the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Nigeria vs Algeria on November, 12th 2016 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium
©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Oct 06, 2017. 16:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group B: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria.

Group B fixtures

Saturday 7 October

Nigeria v Zambia – Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo – 18h00 CAT

Cameroon v Algeria – Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde – 18h00 CAT

Nigeria v Zambia

Matches played: 18

Nigeria wins: 7

Zambia wins: 5

Draws: 6

Nigeria goals: 18

Zambia goals: 21

Last meeting: Zambia 1-2 Nigeria, 9 October 2016, Levy Mwanawasa Stadium

Nigeria World Ranking: 44

Zambia World Ranking: 78

Nigeria World Cup appearances: 5 (1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014)

Zambia World Cup appearances: 0

Cameroon v Algeria

Matches played: 8

Cameroon wins: 1

Algeria wins: 3

Draws: 4

Cameroon goals: 10

Algeria goals: 9

Last meeting: Algeria 1-1 Cameroon, 9 October 2016, Stade Mustapha Tchaker

Cameroon World Ranking: 62

Algeria World Ranking: 45

Cameroon World Cup appearances: 7 (1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014)

Algeria World Cup appearances: 4 (1982, 1986, 2010, 2014)



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group A head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Sliti Naim of Tunisia (number 23) celebrates goal during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Algeria and Tunisia at the Franceville Stadium in Gabon on 19 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 13:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group A: Tunisia, DR Congo, Guinea and Libya.

Group A fixtures

Saturday 7 October

Guinea v Tunisia – Stade du 28 Septembre, Conakry – 19h00 CAT

Libya v DR Congo – Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet, Monastir – 19h00 CAT

Guinea v Tunisia

Matches played: 20

Guinea wins: 7

Tunisia wins: 8

Draws: 5

Guinea goals: 20

Tunisia goals: 29

Last meeting: Tunisia 2-0 Guinea, 9 October 2016, Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet

Guinea World Ranking: 65

Tunisia World Ranking: 31

Guinea World Cup appearances: 0

Tunisia World Cup appearances: 4 (1978, 1998, 2002, 2006)

Libya v DRC

Matches played: 8

Libya wins: 2

DRC wins: 2

Draws: 4

Libya goals: 8

DRC goals: 11

Last meeting: DRC 4-0 Libya, 8 October 2016, Stade des Martyrs

Libya World Ranking: 81

DRC World Ranking: 42

Libya World Cup appearances: 0

DRC World Cup appearances: 1 (1974, as Zaire)



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the permutations for Group D – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Henri Saivet of Senegal (c) celebrates goal during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Senegal and Zimbabwe at the Franceville Stadium in Gabon on 19 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 13:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at who needs what to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup ahead of this weekend’s round of matches. Today we focus on Group D: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Senegal and South Africa.

Where and when are the games?

Saturday 7 October

South Africa v Burkina Faso – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg – 15h00 CAT

Cape Verde v Senegal – Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia – 19h30 CAT

Who needs what to qualify?

Given that FIFA annulled South Africa’s 2-1 win over Senegal from last year and this group is therefore effectively one result short of where it should be, nobody can secure qualification this weekend.

However, a win for group leaders Burkina Faso over hosts South Africa would not only take the Stallions to within touching distance of Russia 2018, it would mathematically eliminate Bafana Bafana.

What’s likely to happen?

Hard to tell. South Africa can surely only improve from their dreadful performances last month when they were beaten in back-to-back games by Cape Verde, but Burkina Faso are unbeaten thus far and determined to go to the World Cup for the first time in their history – perhaps a draw would be the thinking man’s pick for the game in Johannesburg.

As for the Cape Verde v Senegal game in Praia, we’d go with the Teranga Lions to come away with all three points. They’ve had new life breathed into their campaign by both the decision to have the game against Bafana replayed and the combination of group results in September.

If Senegal can head to November knowing that back-to-back wins over an eliminated South Africa will secure a place in Russia 2018, then that will be the perfect scenario for coach Aliou Cisse – a veteran of the country’s famous World Cup debut in 2002.



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group A players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Mathieu Dossevi of Togo battles for the ball with Chancel Mbemba of DR Congo during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Togo and DR Congo at the Port Gentil Stadium in Gabon on 24 January 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 11:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group A: Tunisia, DR Congo, Guinea and Libya.

Group A fixtures

Saturday 7 October

Guinea v Tunisia – Stade du 28 Septembre, Conakry – 19h00 CAT

Libya v DR Congo – Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet, Monastir – 19h00 CAT

Tunisia – Wahbi Khazri

With Tunisia looking to claim a potentially decisive away win over Guinea on Saturday evening, they will need their attacking players to take advantage of every opportunity which comes their way. Playmaker Wahbi Khazri will be tasked with slicing open the hosts’ defence and hopefully adding to the one goal he has scored (a penalty against Libya just under a year ago) in this group thus far.

DR Congo – Chancel Mbemba

Chancel Mbemba scored for DR Congo in their 2-2 draw at home to Tunisia last month but also suffered an injury which put him out of contention for a couple of weeks at Premier League club Newcastle United. The Leopards will hope their versatile 23-year-old is fit and firing for their trip to Monastir in Tunisia, where they will come up against an already-eliminated Libya in a must-win fixture.

Guinea – Alkhaly Bangoura

The scorer of Guinea’s winning goal in the 3-2 triumph over Libya in the last international window, Alkhaly Bangoura is making a name for himself with the Syli Nationale. The 21-year-old forward plays his club football with Tunisian giants Etoile du Sahel and will feel quite comfortable taking on the Carthage Eagles. Guinea will hope Bangoura can reproduce the form which made him a hero in their last match in Conakry.

Libya – Hamdou Elhouni

The scorer of Libya’s goal in the 1-0 win over Guinea last month, Hamdou Elhouni will be hoping to continue his strong form for the Mediterranean Knights. Libya are out of the running to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but they can certainly affect DR Congo’s chances by winning in Monastir and doing their fellow North Africans Tunisia a major favour.



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group E head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


epa06186462 Egypt’s Abdallah El-Said (R) in action during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying soccer match between Egypt and Uganda, in Alexandria, Egypt, 05 September 2017. EPA/MOHAMED HOSSAM

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 04, 2017. 17:30


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group E: Egypt, Uganda, Ghana and Congo.

Group E fixtures

Saturday 7 October

Uganda v Ghana – Mandela National Stadium, Kampala – 15h00 CAT

Sunday 8 October

Egypt v Congo – Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria – 19h00 CAT

Uganda v Ghana

Matches played: 11

Uganda wins: 3

Ghana wins: 4

Draws: 4

Uganda goals: 8

Ghana goals: 11

Last meeting: Ghana 0-0 Uganda, 7 October 2016, Tamale Stadium

Uganda World Ranking: 71

Ghana World Ranking: 52

Uganda World Cup appearances: 0

Ghana World Cup appearances: 3 (2006, 2010, 2014)

Egypt v Congo

Matches played: 7

Egypt wins: 6

Congo wins: 1

Draws: 0

Egypt goals: 15

Congo goals: 4

Last meeting: Congo 1-2 Egypt, 9 October 2016, Stade Municipal de Kintele

Egypt World Ranking: 30

Congo World Ranking: 95

Egypt World Cup appearances: 2 (1934, 1990)

Congo World Cup appearances: 0



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group D players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


West Ham striker Diafra Sakho

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 04, 2017. 11:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group D: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Senegal and South Africa.

Group D fixtures

Saturday 7 October

South Africa v Burkina Faso – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg – 15h00 CAT

Cape Verde v Senegal – Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia – 19h30 CAT

Burkina Faso – Bertrand Traore

Olympique Lyon striker Bertrand Traore looks set to be Burkina Faso’s spearhead for their clash away to South Africa on Saturday. The 22-year-old has taken his game to a new level since joining his current French side and notably scored for the Stallions in their 2-2 draw at home to Senegal last month. If Traore can find the net again this weekend, it may well put the Burkinabe on the path to their first World Cup appearance.

Cape Verde – Garry Rodrigues

Garry Rodrigues’ two goals for Cape Verde in their stunning win over South Africa in Durban last month, as well as his form for Turkish giants Galatasaray, has seen the forward linked with a move to Premier League side Newcastle United. If he is to keep such speculation alive and well, he will need to once again strut his stuff for the Blue Sharks when they face up to Senegal in Praia.

Senegal – Diafra Sakho

Diafra Sakho has seen his career almost go off the rails in recent times, but this past weekend he stole the headlines in the Premier League by scoring a crucial winner for West Ham United in their clash with Swansea City – effectively saving manager Slaven Bilic’s job. He’ll have another chance to bask in the limelight when Senegal face Cape Verde in a crunch clash in Praia on Saturday, having been recalled to the Teranga Lions squad for the first time in two years.

South Africa – Phakamani Mahlambi

After their back-to-back losses to Cape Verde last month, South Africa are in desperate need of inspiration to keep their slim qualifying hopes alive. In young forward Phakamani Mahlambi they may have the ingenuity and pace their attack has been crying out for. The 20-year-old has recently joined Egyptian giants Al Ahly and will be keen to prove himself for the national team.



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group D head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Prejuce Nakoulma of Burkina Faso (r) .challenged by Bruno Ecuele Manga of Gabon during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Gabon and Burkina Faso at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 18 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 03, 2017. 17:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group D: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Senegal and South Africa.

Group D fixtures

Saturday 7 October

South Africa v Burkina Faso – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg – 15h00 CAT

Cape Verde v Senegal – Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia – 19h30 CAT

South Africa v Burkina Faso

Matches played: 8

SA wins: 4

Burkina Faso wins: 1

Draws: 3

SA goals: 11

Burkina Faso goals: 5

Last meeting: Burkina Faso 1-1 South Africa, 8 October 2016, Stade du 4 Aout

SA World Ranking: 80

Burkina Faso World Ranking: 49

SA World Cup appearances: 3 (1998, 2002, 2010)

Burkina Faso World Cup appearances: 0

Cape Verde v Senegal

Matches played: 13

Cape Verde wins: 2

Senegal wins: 9

Draws: 2

Cape Verde goals: 7

Senegal goals: 18

Last meeting: Senegal 2-0 Cape Verde, 8 October 2016, Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor

Cape Verde World Ranking: 67

Senegal World Ranking: 33

Cape Verde World Cup appearances: 0

Senegal World Cup appearances: 1 (2002)



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group C players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Gabon midfielder Mario Lemina

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 03, 2017. 13:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group C: Ivory Coast, Morocco, Gabon and Mali.

Group C fixtures

Friday 6 October

Mali v Ivory Coast – Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako – 21h00 CAT

Saturday 7 October

Morocco v Gabon – Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca – 21h00 CAT

Ivory Coast – Serge Aurier

Serge Aurier has had mixed reviews for Tottenham Hotspur since his big-money move from Paris Saint-Germain. The powerful wingback usually reserves his best showings for the big occasions and Ivory Coast will certainly hope that he is in inspired form for their tricky trip to Mali on Friday night. His overlapping runs and crossing ability from out wide give the Elephants a fine attacking option.

Morocco – Hakim Ziyech

A scorer of two goals in Morocco’s massive 6-0 win over Mali last month, Hakim Ziyech will look to continue his fine form for the Atlas Lions. The 24-year-old Ajax star will be a threat not only from open play, but also his notable dead-ball ability. Morocco will need a strong performance against Gabon to keep up their good hopes of qualifying and coach Herve Renard will look to Ziyech to direct the traffic for his team’s attack.

Gabon – Mario Lemina

Mario Lemina has made a strong start to life in the Premier League with new club Southampton, putting in several impressive performances since joining from Juventus. The energetic midfielder will hope to bring his form to Gabon’s national team, who still have an outside chance of qualifying for Russia 2018 – especially if they can beat Morocco in Casablanca on Saturday.

Mali – Moussa Marega

Mali have managed just one goal from four group matches and the pressure is firmly on striker Moussa Marega and his fellow attackers to find the back of the net for the Eagles. The team is entering a new era under caretaker Mohamed Magassouba (who moved into the hot seat following Alain Giresse’s resignation last month) and the likes of Marega will hope they embrace a more attack-minded tactical approach.



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the permutations for Group B – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Victor Moses of Nigeria shields the ball away from Ngadeu Ngadjui of Cameroon during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Nigeria vs Cameroon on September,1st 2017 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium ©Kabiru Abubakar/fotodezamora

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 03, 2017. 11:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at who needs what to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup ahead of this weekend’s round of matches. Today we focus on Group B: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria.

Where and when are the games?

Saturday 7 October

Nigeria v Zambia – Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo – 18h00 CAT

Cameroon v Algeria – Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde – 18h00 CAT

Who needs what to qualify?

Nigeria hold a three-point advantage over Zambia at the head of the group and will secure qualification if they beat Chipolopolo in Uyo on Saturday. A draw puts them on the cusp of qualification because they have a much better goal difference than the Southern Africans, but it wouldn’t quite guarantee their place in Russia.

What’s likely to happen?

Given that Nigeria have comprehensively outplayed Algeria and Cameroon in their two home matches – and beat Zambia 2-1 in Ndola a year ago – it’s hard to see any other outcome than a win for the Super Eagles.

If Gernot Rohr’s team do indeed go on to beat Zambia, they will be the first African team to book their place at the 2018 tournament and it will be their sixth appearance at the World Cup finals overall.

For Chipolopolo, an unlikely victory would bring them right back into contention to qualify for the World Cup for the first time, but they would then still need to better Nigeria’s result in the final round next month when the teams face Cameroon and Algeria respectively.



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group C head-to-heads – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Franck Kessie of Ivory Coast challenged by Karim Aroussi El Ahmadi of Morocco during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Morocco and Ivory Coast at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 24 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 02, 2017. 17:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the team head-to-heads leading into this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group C: Ivory Coast, Morocco, Gabon and Mali.

Group C fixtures

Friday 6 October

Mali v Ivory Coast – Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako – 21h00 CAT

Saturday 7 October

Morocco v Gabon – Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca – 21h00 CAT

Mali v Ivory Coast

Matches played: 25

Mali wins: 2

Ivory Coast wins: 16

Draws: 7

Mali goals: 17

Ivory Coast goals: 47

Last meeting: Ivory Coast 3-1 Mali, 8 October 2016, Stade Bouake

Mali World Ranking: 76

Ivory Coast World Ranking: 54

Mali World Cup appearances: 0

Ivory Coast World Cup appearances: 3 (2006, 2010, 2014)

Morocco v Gabon

Matches played: 14

Morocco wins: 6

Gabon wins: 5

Draws: 3

Morocco goals: 21

Gabon goals: 12

Last meeting: Gabon 0-0 Morocco, 8 October 2016, Stade de Franceville

Morocco World Ranking: 56

Gabon World Ranking: 79

Morocco World Cup appearances: 4 (1970, 1986, 1994, 1998)

Gabon World Cup appearances: 0



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the Group B players to watch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 02, 2017. 15:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group B: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria.

Group B fixtures

Saturday 7 October

Nigeria v Zambia – Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo – 18h00 CAT

Cameroon v Algeria – Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde – 18h00 CAT

Nigeria – Victor Moses

Victor Moses seems to have lost his first-team place at Chelsea, having been dropped to the bench for their loss at home to Manchester City this past weekend. However, he is a definite starter for Nigeria, especially after the superb performances he gave in the Super Eagles’ World Cup qualifiers against Cameroon last month. Used as a wide attacker for the national team, expect Moses to be a thorn in the side of Zambia’s defence.

Zambia – Patson Daka

In the absence of the injured Brian Mwila (who scored two goals for Zambia in their home win over Algeria last month), much of the attacking burden will fall on 18-year-old Patson Daka. The Austrian-based forward proved his class with the only goal against the Fennec Foxes in the teams’ second clash in Constantine, earning Chipolopolo a famous win. Quite whether the teenager can repeat the feat in Uyo this weekend remains to be seen, but coach Wedson Nyirenda may gamble that he can.

Cameroon – Vincent Aboubakar

Vincent Aboubakar has been in fine form for Porto, notably scoring two goals for the Portuguese giants in a 3-0 away win over Monaco in the UEFA Champions League last week. The 25-year-old has also netted twice thus far in Group B and will look to add to his tally – even if Cameroon are no longer in the running to reach Russia 2018.

Algeria – Zinedine Ferhat

With Algeria out of the running to qualify, under-fire coach Lucas Alcaraz has named a much-changed squad, opting to bring in fresh blood and recall players who deserve a second crack at international football. One such example who falls into the latter category is Zinedine Ferhat, whose superb form for Le Havre merits a recall to the Fennec Foxes. The 24-year-old midfielder will hope he can establish himself in the national team with a strong showing against Cameroon.



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2018 WCQ – AfricanFootball looks at the permutations for Group A – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Junior Kalonji of DR Congo celebrates goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Togo and DR Congo at the Port Gentil Stadium in Gabon on 24 January 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 02, 2017. 13:00


AfricanFootball takes a closer look at who needs what to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup ahead of this weekend’s round of matches. Today we focus on Group A: Tunisia, DR Congo, Guinea and Libya.

Where and when are the games?

Saturday 7 October

Guinea v Tunisia – Stade du 28 Septembre, Conakry – 19h00 CAT

Libya v DR Congo – Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet, Monastir – 19h00 CAT

Who needs what to qualify?

Tunisia hold a three-point advantage over Dr Congo at the head of the group and can secure qualification through one of two scenarios: if they win away to Guinea and DRC fail to win away to Libya; or if they draw and DRC lose.

What’s likely to happen?

Guinea may be mathematically eliminated, but Conakry is never an easy place for an away team to win. That being said, Tunisia should have too much class for the Syli Nationale and we can see them picking up all three points.

However, it probably won’t be enough to secure qualification this weekend, because DRC are more than capable of winning away to Libya. The Leopards thrashed the North Africans 4-0 when the teams met in Kinshasa a year ago, and with even a sniff of World Cup qualification in the air they’ll have more than enough motivation to claim a ‘double’.

If it plays out that way, qualification will go down to the last set of matches in November when Tunisia are at home to Libya and DRC host Guinea. But it’s still very much the Carthage Eagles who are the favourites.



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AfricanFootball previews the weekend’s CAF Confederation Cup action


Saad Aitkhorsa (L) of FUS Rabat vies for the ball with Aliassou Sanou (R) Rivers Unitedduring the 2017 CAF Confederations Cup game between FATH Union Sport and Rivers United in Rabat, Morocco on 7 July 2017 © BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Sep 29, 2017. 11:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to a weekend which will see the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup open its penultimate round this weekend with two first-leg, semifinal clashes in South Africa and DR Congo.

The action gets underway on Sunday afternoon at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Tshwane, with SuperSport United hosting Club Africain.

The South Africans secured a dramatic triumph over Zambia’s Zesco United in the quarterfinals, with Thuso Phala’s last-gasp strike securing progression on away goals after the teams drew 2-2 on aggregate.

Club Africain also left things late in their tie against MC Alger, with veteran Saber Khalifa scoring in the dying minutes to secure a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

Neither side has won this competition before (though CA have been runners-up three times) and both will be desperate for a crack at the silverware.

The second match of the weekend takes place on the same day in Lubumbashi and sees title holders TP Mazembe host Morocco’s FUS Rabat.

The DR Congo side look in ominous form after they crushed Sudan’s Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid 7-1 on aggregate in the quarters, establishing themselves as the competition favourites.

Yet FUS will pose a much sterner challenge: they were good enough to survive the toughest group and did just enough to beat three-time Confed Cup winners CS Sfaxien in the quarterfinals, winning 5-4 on penalties after the teams drew 1-1 on aggregate.

The second-leg matches for both semifinals will be played on the weekend of 20-22 October.

CAF Confederation Cup fixtures

All times CAT – semifinal, first legs

Sunday 1 October

SuperSport United v Club Africain – 15h00

TP Mazembe v FUS Rabat – 15h30



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AfricanFootball previews the weekend’s CAF Champions League action


Fabrice Nguessi Ondama (R) of Wydad Casablanca vies for the ball with Maroof Yusuf (L) of Zamalek during the African Champions League (CAF) semi-final leg soccer match between Zamalek and Wydad Casablanca at Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco, 24 September 2016. EPA/ABDELHAK SENNA

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Sep 29, 2017. 10:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to a weekend which will see the 2017 CAF Champions League open its penultimate round with two first-leg, semifinal clashes – both of which are North African derbies.

The action gets underway on Friday night with the meeting of USM Alger and Wydad Casablanca at the Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers.

The Algerian hosts are the only club out of the remaining four which has never won the Champions League (they were runners-up to TP Mazembe in 2015) and they will be itching for the chance to lay their hands on the trophy for the first time.

However, they face a tough opponent in Wydad. The Moroccans claimed the scalp of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the previous round, ousting the South Africans 3-2 on penalties after the two teams were tied 1-1 on aggregate.

Expect a tactical chess-match between two teams which have been strong defensively throughout the competition.

On Sunday, at the Olympic Stadium in Sousse, Etoile du Sahel and Al Ahly will renew a rivalry which has burned fiercely in this competition since the turn of the century.

The teams have met twice in the Champions League final: in 2005 the Egyptians triumphed 3-0 on aggregate, but two years later it was the Tunisian side’s turn to taste glory when they won 3-1 over the two legs.

Al Ahly have already overcome one Tunisian team, defeating Esperance de Tunis 4-3 on aggregate in the quarterfinals, while Etoile will hope for an Al Ahly ‘double’: they beat Libya’s Al Ahli Tripoli in the previous round and will now hope to repeat the feat against the famous Egyptian giants.

The second-leg matches for both semifinals will be played on the weekend of 20-22 October.

CAF Champions League fixtures

All times CAT – semifinal, first legs

Friday 29 September

USM Alger v Wydad Casablanca – 19h00

Sunday 1 October

Etoile du Sahel v Al Ahly – 19h30



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AfricanFootball previews the weekend’s CAF Confed Cup matches


Mohamed Fouzaire (L) of FUS Rabat vies for the ball with JAliassoSanou (R) Rivers Unitedduring the 2017 CAF Confederations Cup game between FATH Union Sport and Rivers United in Rabat, Morocco on 7 July 2017 © BackpagePix

by
Helder Ribiero

Friday Sep 22, 2017. 11:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to the weekend’s CAF Confederation Cup action, which will see four quarterfinal, second-leg matches played across the continent.

Sfax, Ndola, Lubumbashi and Rades will be the hosts cities as the final four teams for the continent’s second-tier club competition make themselves known.

The action gets underway in Tunisia on Friday evening, with three-time champions CS Sfaxien looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Moroccan visitors FUS Rabat. CSS have won all five of their home matches in this competition in 2017, scoring 15 goals without reply, and will be very confident of trumping their guests from Rabat.

Saturday’s lone game is the Southern African derby between Zesco United and SuperSport United. It’s all to play for in the second leg at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola after the teams drew 0-0 in Pretoria last weekend. The Zambians will have home advantage, but SuperSport will more than fancy their chances of nicking an away goal or two.

Sunday’s first game sees title holders TP Mazembe looking to wrap up progression into the final four over Sudanese side Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid. The DR Congo giants won 2-1 away from home last weekend and are heavy favourites to add to that advantage at their fortress in Lubumbashi.

The quarterfinals wrap up on Sunday evening when Club Africain and MC Alger meet in Rades for a second all North African clash. The Tunisian hosts are looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Algiers last weekend.

CAF Confederation Cup fixtures

Quarterfinal, second leg matches – All times CAT – aggregate score in parenthesis

Friday 22 September

CS Sfaxien v FUS Rabat (0-1) – 20h00

Saturday 23 September

Zesco United v SuperSport United (0-0) – 15h00

Sunday 24 September

TP Mazembe v Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid (2-1) – 15h30

Club Africain v MC Alger (0-1) – 20h00



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AfricanFootball previews the weekend’s CAF Champions League matches


Al Ahly player Amr Gamal (L) in action against Coton Sport player Kaou Fabril (R) during the 2017 CAF Champions League game between Al Ahly and Coton Sport at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt on in Alexandria, Egypt on 8 July 2017 © BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Sep 22, 2017. 10:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to the weekend’s CAF Champions League action, which will see four quarterfinal, second-leg matches played in North Africa.

Algiers, Rades, Casablanca and Sousse will be the hosts cities as the final four teams for the continent’s premier club competition make themselves known.

The action gets underway in Algiers on Saturday evening when USMA host Mozambique’s Ferroviario Beira at the 5 July Stadium. The teams drew 1-1 in their first leg last weekend, making the Algerians slight favourites to progress.

This will be quickly followed by the eagerly-anticipated clash between Tunisian giants Esperance de Tunis and Egyptian heavyweights Al Ahly. The first leg in Alexandria ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw, and there is no reason to expect anything less than a cracking return game at the Olympic Stadium in Rades.

Saturday’s late match sees competition title holders Mamelodi Sundowns looking to maintain their narrow lead over Wydad when the teams meet at Stade Mohamed V in the Moroccan city of Casablanca.

The Brazilians lead 1-0 from the first leg in Tshwane thanks to Yannick Zakri’s goal and will hope that they can continue the strong away form they have shown in the competition thus far.

The quarterfinals wrap up on Sunday evening when Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel welcome Libyan contenders Al Ahly Tripoli to the Olympic Stadium in Sousse. It’s all to play for in the second leg after the teams drew 0-0 in their first match last weekend.

CAF Champions League fixtures

Quarterfinal, second leg matches – All times CAT – aggregate score in parenthesis

Saturday 23 September

USM Alger v Ferroviario Beira (1-1) – 19h30

Esperance de Tunis v Al Ahly (2-2) – 20h00

Wydad Casablanca v Mamelodi Sundowns (0-1) – 22h00

Sunday 24 September

Etoile du Sahel v Al Ahly Tripoli (0-0) – 19h30



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AfricanFootball reviews the midweek Absa Premiership action


Thabo Nodada of Cape Town City shields ball from Ntsikelelo Nyauza of Orlando Pirates during the 2017/18 Absa Premiership football match between Orlando Pirates and Cape Town City at Soccer City, Johannesburg on 19 September 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Sep 21, 2017. 10:00


AfricanFootball reviews the midweek matches in the Absa Premiership, which saw Golden Arrows retain their place at the top of the log on goal difference, while champions Bidvest Wits continue to struggle after they were soundly beaten by AmaZulu.

Tuesday’s headline result was Orlando Pirates’ 1-0 win over Cape Town City at the FNB Stadium. The Buccaneers moved to the top of the table on 11 points thanks to Thabo Qalinge’s late strike, while Benni McCarthy’s Citizens suffered a second successive league loss at the hands of a Soweto giant.

Also on Tuesday evening, Chippa United fought back from a goal down to hold SuperSport United 1-1 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, while the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium witnessed a five-goal thriller between Polokwane City and Free State Stars.

Ea Lla Koto emerged 3-2 victors – their first win of the 2017/18 campaign, as well as City’s third successive defeat – though the Free State side very nearly contrived to throw away a three-goal lead (featuring a brace from Mohammed Anas) with a slack second-half performance.

A busy evening of games on Wednesday featured an impressive 3-0 win for AmaZulu over Bidvest Wits. The reigning champions have made a terrible start to the season after taking just two points from five matches. And things won’t get any easier for the Clever Boys, as they come up against Pirates this weekend.

Arrows claimed first spot on goal difference after a late penalty from Kuda Mahachi secured a 1-0 win at bottom-of-the-log Platinum Stars, while Baroka FC made it a three-way tie at the top thanks to their 2-0 win at Bloemfontein Celtic.

The individual performance of the round was probably Itumeleng Khune’s heroics for Kaizer Chiefs in a 2-0 win at Maritzburg United. Gustavo Paez scored both goals for the Amakhosi, but their goalkeeper took home the plaudits with a third successive Man of the Match award.

The Absa Premiership will continue this weekend with six matches spread across September 22-24, starting with Cape Town City v Polokwane City on Friday night.

Absa Premiership midweek results

Tuesday 19 September

Orlando Pirates 1-0 Cape Town City

SuperSport United 1-1 Chippa United

Polokwane City 2-3 Free State Stars

Wednesday 20 September

Maritzburg United 0-2 Kaizer Chiefs

Bloemfontein Celtic 0-2 Baroka FC

AmaZulu 3-0 Bidvest Wits

Platinum Stars 0-1 Golden Arrows



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AfricanFootball reviews the weekend’s Absa Premiership action


Siphesihle Ndlovu of Maritzburg Utd and Thabo Rakhale of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on 15 September 2017 © Steve Haag/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Sep 18, 2017. 11:00


AfricanFootball looks back on a weekend of Absa Premiership matches which sees no less than four teams tied at the top of the log.

Golden Arrows claimed the biggest win of the round – thumping Durban rivals AmaZulu 4-1 on Sunday – to go top of the standings on goal difference. They are level on eight points with Maritzburg United, Baroka FC and Orlando Pirates.

Following an impressive away win over champions Bidvest Wits last week, Abafana Bes’thende look to be one of the early surprise packages and their progress merits genuine praise for coach Clinton Larsen.

The weekend’s action got underway on Friday night, as Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates continued their unbeaten starts to the season by playing to a goalless stalemate in front of a big crowd at the Harry Gwala Stadium.

Ajax Cape Town were also in action on Friday as a brace from Prince Nxumalo handed them a 2-0 home win over Polokwane City. It was the Urban Warriors’ first three-pointer of the 2017/18 campaign.

Saturday’s matches opened with a 1-0 win for Baroka FC at home to Free State Stars to see the plucky Limpopo side move level with Maritzburg and Pirates at the top of the standings.

This was followed by a 1-1 draw between Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits at FNB Stadium. The Amakhosi will feel it is two points lost, as they held both a lead and a numerical advantage (following an opening strike from Siphiwe Tshabalala and a red card for Nazeer Allie) but conceded a late equaliser to the Clever Boys’ Egyptian attacker Amr Gamal.

Saturday was wrapped up by a goalless stalemate between Platinum Stars and Chippa United in Rustenburg. The result means Dikwena have at least picked up their first point of the season, though they remain winless and rooted to the bottom of the log standings.

The Absa Premiership will resume with an almost full round of fixtures played this coming midweek, September 19-20. The Ajax Cape Town v Mamelodi Sundowns match has been delayed due to the latter’s participation in the CAF Champions League.

Absa Premiership weekend results

Friday 15 September

Maritzburg United 0-0 Orlando Pirates

Ajax Cape Town 2-0 Polokwane City

Saturday 16 September

Baroka FC 1-0 Free State Stars

Kaizer Chiefs 1-1 Bidvest Wits

Platinum Stars 0-0 Chippa United

Sunday 17 September

Golden Arrows 4-1 AmaZulu



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AfricanFootball previews the CAF Confederation Cup’s weekend action


Jeremy Brockie of Supersport United celebrates a goal during the MTN8 Semi Final Second Leg match between Maritzburg United and Supersport United on the 09 September 2017 at Harry Gwala Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Sep 15, 2017. 11:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to the resumption of the CAF Confederation Cup, which will feature four quarterfinal, first leg matches played across the continent.

The action gets underway on Friday evening in Tshwane when SuperSport United and Zesco United meet for a Southern African derby. SuperSport have shown solid form of late (they booked a place in the MTN8 final last weekend) and in New Zealand striker Jeremy Brockie they boast the tournament’s leading goal scorer (nine strikes thus far).

Saturday evening promises to be a jam-packed, drama-thrilled sequence of three matches in East and North Africa. First, at the Al-Ubayyid Stadium in Sudan, hosts Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid will be looking to get the better of reigning Confed Cup champions TP Mazembe.

The DRC giants went unbeaten through the group stage and will fancy their chances of a second successive triumph in this competition – though they must prove themselves in a tricky trip to Sudan.

Morocco’s FUS Rabat will then play host to Tunisian side CS Sfaxien. The visitors are three-time champions of the Confed Cup and were mightily impressive through the group stage, making them the favourites to prevail in this North African derby.

And soon after the action gets underway in Rabat, it will be Algeria’s turn for kick-off when the Stade du 5 Juillet in the capital sees MC Alger taking on another Tunisian side in the shape of Club Africain.

CA looked down and out in the group stage but they ended up topping their pool with three successive victories, and they will look to bring that momentum to Algeria for what promises to be a thrilling first-leg clash.

CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinal fixtures

First leg matches, all times CAT

Friday 15 September

SuperSport United v Zesco United – 19h00

Saturday 16 September

Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid v TP Mazembe – 19h00

FUS Rabat v CS Sfaxien – 21h30

MC Alger v Club Africain – 21h45



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AfricanFootball previews the CAF Champions League’s weekend action


epa05398148 Etoile Sahel’s player Bangoura Al khaly (C) in action against Fath Union player Nayef Aguerd (R) during the CAF Champions League group stage, between Etoile Sahel and Fath Union at Stade Olympique de Sousse, Tunisia, 29 June 2016 EPA/STR

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Sep 15, 2017. 10:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to the resumption of the CAF Champions League, which will feature four quarterfinal, first leg matches played across the continent.

The action gets underway on Saturday afternoon at Estadio do Ferroviario in Beira, Mozambique, where the host team Ferroviario will be looking to make the most of home advantage against Algerian giants USM Alger.

The Mozambican side did superbly to finish above the Sudanese pair of Al Merrikh and Al Hilal in the group stage, but they face a tough task in trying to overcoming their North African opponents.

The most anticipated tie of the quarterfinals pits eight-time champions Al Ahly up against Tunisian heavyweights Esperance, with their first leg set for the Borg El Arab Stadium outside of Alexandria on Saturday evening.

The Egyptians were ever so lucky to edge out Zanaco to the final qualifying berth in their group, but they remain a team with immense pedigree and will always be one of the favourites if they are present at the sharp end of the competition.

Reigning African champions Mamelodi Sundowns will continue the defence of their crown when they host Wydad Casablanca at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Tshwane on Sunday afternoon.

Pitso Mosimane’s side will have to overcome a lengthy injury list as they look to improve on their home form (they didn’t win any of the three matches they hosted in the group stage) against a Wydad side which not only topped their group but also secured the Moroccan top flight championship.

Finally, the weekend’s Champions League matches wrap up with Libya’s Al Ahly Tripoli hosting Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel at the Borg El Arab Stadium. Tripoli cannot host true ‘home’ matches due to the continuing political instability in their home country, but it hasn’t stopped them from becoming one of Africa’s toughest teams.

CAF Champions League quarterfinal fixtures

First leg matches, all times CAT

Saturday 16 September

Ferroviario Beira v USM Alger – 15h00

Al Ahly v Esperance Tunis – 19h00

Sunday 17 September

Mamelodi Sundowns v Wydad Casablanca – 15h00

Al Ahly Tripoli v Etoile Sahel – 20h00



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AfricanFootball reviews the midweek Absa Premiership action – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Wayne Arendse of Mamelodi Sundowns and Siphelele Mthembu of Free State Stars during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Free State Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns at Goble Park, Bethlehem on 11 September 2017 © Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 14, 2017. 10:00


AfricanFootball looks back at the third round of the 2017/18 Absa Premiership, which wrapped up on Wednesday night with champions Bidvest Wits suffering a home defeat to continue their stuttering start to the season, while Kaizer Chiefs overcame Cape Town City to pick up their first victory.

The Clever Boys were outplayed in Johannesburg, where goals from Lerato Lamola, Zolani Nkombelo and Nduduzo Sibiya saw Abafana Bes’thende take three points at the home of the league champions, avenging their MTN8 quarterfinal loss against the same team last month.

Chiefs and under-fire coach Steve Komphela picked up perhaps the most significant win of the round, as goals from Siphiwe Tshabalala and youngster Wiseman Meyiwa saw them overcome Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City.

The Mother City side had won five on the bounce across all competitions, but they were very much second best to the Soweto giants and suffered a first loss under the guidance of McCarthy.

The round’s action got underway on Monday evening at Goble Park, where Percy Tau came off the bench to score a superb brace of goals and inspire Mamelodi Sundowns to a 2-1 win away at Free State Stars.

The Brazilians’ fine performance on the road clearly inspired Baroka FC and Bloemfontein Celtic – both teams claimed their first wins of the season by respectively trumping Chippa United 3-1 and Polokwane City 2-1 in away clashes on Tuesday. Gift Motupa scored a brace for Bakgaga, and Ndumiso Mabena did the same for Phunya Sele Sele.

Tuesday also featured a narrow win for Orlando Pirates, who edged a stuttering Ajax Cape Town 1-0 thanks to Bernard Morrison’s early strike, while SuperSport United handed Platinum Stars a third successive loss (in new coach Roger de Sa’s first match in charge) as Sifiso Myeni and Jeremy Brockie struck late goals.

There was also a KwaZulu-Natal derby which saw AmaZulu fight back from a goal down to secure a 1-1 draw at home to Maritzburg United – The Team of Choice remain unbeaten in the league, and top the log on goal difference ahead of Pirates.

Absa Premiership midweek results

Monday 11 September

Free State Stars 1-2 Mamelodi Sundowns

Tuesday 12 September

SuperSport United 2-0 Platinum Stars

Orlando Pirates 1-0 Ajax Cape Town

AmaZulu 1-1 Maritzburg United

Chippa United 1-3 Baroka FC

Polokwane City 1-2 Bloemfontein Celtic

Wednesday 13 September

Bidvest Wits 1-3 Golden Arrows

Cape Town City 0-2 Kaizer Chiefs



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AfricanFootball previews tonight’s UEFA Champions League action – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Sep 13, 2017. 10:00


AfricanFootball highlights the continent’s top players set to feature in Matchday 1 action of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, 13 September.

At Anfield, Senegal star Sadio Mane will look to put his weekend red card behind him when he and Mohamed Salah take to the wings for Liverpool’s home clash with Sevilla, and Manchester City’s Yaya Toure could see action in their clash at Feyenoord, who are set to be led by Moroccan Karim El Ahmadi.

Kalidou Koulibaly and Faouzi Ghoulam’s Napoli face a tricky trip to the Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk, Cape Verdean Ze Luis could see action for Spartak Moscow in their trip to Maribor, and Guinea superstar Naby Keita will look to justify the hype surrounding him when RB Leipzig make their Champions League debut at home to Keita Balde and Rachid Ghezzal’s Monaco.

Tottenham Hotspur will be without Victor Wanyama for their match at home to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Borussia Dortmund, Yacin Brahimi and Vincent Aboubakar will look to feature for Porto at home to Besiktas, and Benin’s Mickael Pote will look to put his name into APOEL’s history books when they face reigning European champions Real Madrid.

UEFA Champions League fixtures, Wednesday 13 September

Matchday 1, all 20h45 CAT

Maribor v Spartak Moscow

Liverpool v Sevilla

Feyenoord v Manchester City

Shakhtar Donetsk v Napoli

RB Leipzig v Monaco

Porto v Besiktas

Real Madrid v APOEL

Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund



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AfricanFootball previews the week’s PSL action


Abbubaker Mobara of Orlando Pirates

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Sep 11, 2017. 11:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to a full set of Absa Premiership fixtures spread across the next three evenings, as surprise leaders Maritzburg United and Cape Town City look to continue their strong early-season form.

The action begins on Monday evening, with Mamelodi Sundowns looking to shrug off a stuttering start to the campaign when they head to Goble Park to take on Free State Stars.

It’s a tricky away match for coach Pitso Mosimane, who has also to balance out the demands of a CAF Champions League quarterfinal match on the weekend, while Ea Lla Koto will have Luc Eymael sitting on the bench for his first match since succeeding Sammy Troughton.

Another coach taking charge of his first match at a new club is Roger de Sa, who will lead bottom-placed Platinum Stars in their clash at an in-form SuperSport United on a busy Tuesday evening.

There will also be a KwaZulu-Natal derby between AmaZulu and Maritzburg United, Orlando Pirates will look to add to Ajax Cape Town’s struggles, Polokwane City will fancy their chances of a home win against Bloemfontein Celtic, and the battle between Chippa United and Baroka FC promises to be entirely unpredictable.

The round wraps up with two matches on Wednesday: Bidvest Wits and Golden Arrows will renew hostilities a few weeks after their MTN8 quarterfinal which saw no less than six red cards brandished, while Kaizer Chiefs are in desperate need of a strong performance when they head to the ‘Mother City’ to take on Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City.

Absa Premiership, Round 3 fixtures

All times CAT

Monday 11 September

Free State Stars v Mamelodi Sundowns – 18h00

Tuesday 12 September

SuperSport United v Platinum Stars – 19h30

Orlando Pirates v Ajax Cape Town – 19h30

Polokwane City v Bloemfontein Celtic – 19h30

Chippa United v Baroka FC – 19h30

AmaZulu v Maritzburg United – 19h30

Wednesday 13 September

Bidvest Wits v Golden Arrows – 19h30

Cape Town City v Kaizer Chiefs – 19h30



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AfricanFootball previews the weekend’s CAF Confed Cup action


Ben Ngita of TP Mazembe challenged by Clayton Daniels of Supersport United during the Caf Confederation Cup match between Supersport United and TP Mazembe at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria on 20 June 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Jun 30, 2017. 12:00


AfricanFootball previews Matchday 5 of the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup, with this weekend’s action set to to paint a clear picture of who is going to progress into the quarterfinals.

The action gets underway on Friday evening as Smouha SC and Zesco United battle to reignite their quarterfinal hopes with a Group C clash in Alexandria, while MC Alger will fancy their chances of securing progression with a win at home to Group B’s last-placed Platinum Stars.

Saturday also features just two matches, with Horoya AC of Guinea and SuperSport United – who come into the game having won South Africa’s Nedbank Cup last weekend – meeting in a top-of-the-table Group D match in Conakry, while the night match sees Sudan’s Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid host Recreativo Libolo in a potential Group C decider.

Sunday will see a busy afternoon and early evening in the competition, with the focus mainly falling on the Group A matches: KCCA v FUS Rabat in Kampala and Rivers United v Club African in Port Harcourt. All four teams are locked on six points and it would take a brave soul to bet on anything other than home wins, which is all this pool has produced so far.

Elsewhere, three-time Confed Cup champions CS Sfaxien face a potential banana skin in their Group B match at Mbabane Swallows, while defending champions TP Mazembe will need to ensure they are not the first team to concede a point to CF Mounana in Group D, when they face the Gabonese side in Libreville.

CAF Confederation Cup Matchday 5 fixtures
All times CAT

Friday 30 June

Group C – Smouha SC v Zesco United – 18h00

Group B – MC Alger v Platinum Stars – 22h00

Saturday 1 July

Group D – Horoya AC v SuperSport United – 17h00

Group C – Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid v Recreativo Libolo – 20h00

Sunday 2 July

Group A – KCCA v FUS Rabat – 15h00

Group B – Mbabane Swallows v CS Sfaxien – 15h00

Group A – Rivers United v Club Africain – 17h00

Group D – CF Mounana v TP Mazembe – 17h00



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AfricanFootball reviews Wednesday’s CAF Club action


Meriah Yassine of CS Sfaxien challenges Siphiwe Mnguni of Platinum Stars during the CAF Confederation Cup match between Platinum Stars and CS Sfaxien on 21 June 2017 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Jun 22, 2017. 10:00


AfricanFootball reviews an action-packed day in the CAF Club competitions on Wednesday and early Thursday morning, with six matches completed across the continent.

The first Champions League clash saw Zambia’s Zanaco put themselves within touching distance of a place in the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win away to Cameroonian giants Coton Sport, courtesy of a last-gasp goal from Saith Sakala.

In Sudan, Al Hilal played to a fourth successive draw in Group A as they held Tunisian giants Etoile Sahel 1-1 thanks to an injury-time equaliser from Mohamed Bashir. The result means Etoile lead the group with eight points, while Ferroviario Beira, Al Merrikh and Al Hilal all have four points.

In Group B, USM Alger and Al Ahli Tripoli claimed notable home wins over Zamalek (2-0) and CAPS United (4-2) respectively to move level at the top of the pool on seven points apiece.

Defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns held Tunisia’s Esperance de Tunis goalless in their Group C clash in Rades. The result means the Blood and Gold lead the way with eight points, while ‘Downs are level in second place with Ethiopia’s Saint George on five points apiece.

The only Confederation Cup match of the day saw three-time champions CS Sfaxien of Tunisia claim a valuable 1-1 away draw at South Africa’s Platinum Stars, putting them just one point behind MC Alger at the top of Group B.

Both CAF Club competitions will have their penultimate round of group stage matches played next weekend, 30 June to 2 July.

CAF Club competitions results, Wednesday 21 June

CAF Champions League

Group D – Coton Sport 0-1 Zanaco

Group A – Al Hilal 1-1 Etoile Sahel

Group B – Al Ahli Tripoli 4-2 CAPS United

Group C – Esperance 0-0 Mamelodi Sundowns

Group B – USM Alger 2-0 Zamalek

CAF Confederation Cup

Group B – Platinum Stars 1-1 CS Sfaxien



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AfricanFootball previews CAF Confederation Cup midweek action


KCCA FC players celebrate after scoring

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Jun 19, 2017. 12:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to Matchday 4 of the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup, which will see eight matches are played in midweek.

Tuesday sees a logjam of fixtures from mid afternoon right up to late night kick-offs, starting with Angola’s Recreativo Libolo hosting Group C leaders Zesco United of Zambia in Calulo at 16h00 CAT.

An hour later Nigeria’s Rivers United face a must-win clash at home to Uganda’s KCCA in Group A, followed by Group D’s two matches as Horoya AC host strugglers CF Mounana, and SuperSport United host TP Mazembe in a top-of-the-table clash in Pretoria.

The late evening action begins in Sudan when Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid look to keep themselves in the top two of Group C with a win at home to Egypt’s Smouha, followed by the Group A North African derby between Club Africain and FUS Rabat in Rades and Group B’s MC Alger hosting the surprisingly resilient Swazi contenders Mbabane Swallows.

The round of matches wraps up on Wednesday evening when Group B’s last-placed team Platinum Stars host leaders CS Sfaxien in Rustenburg. The South African side recently parted ways with coach Cavin Johnson and will be hoping new leadership sparks their African campaign into life.

CAF Confederation Cup, Matchday 4 fixtures

All times CAT

Tuesday 20 June

Group C – Recreativo Libolo v Zesco United – 16h00

Group A – Rivers United v KCCA – 17h00

Group D – Horoya AC v CF Mounana – 18h00

Group D – SuperSport United v TP Mazembe – 19h00

Group C – Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid v FC Smouha – 22h00

Group A – Club Africain v FUS Rabat – 23h00

Group B – MC Alger v Mbabane Swallows – 23h00

Wednesday 21 June

Group B – Platinum Stars v CS Sfaxien – 19h00



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AfricanFootball reviews the continent’s Confederations Cup history


Jacques Zoua of Cameroon (r) challenged by Daniel Amartey of Ghana during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals Afcon semifinal football match between Cameroon and Ghana at the Franceville Stadium in Gabon on 02 February 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Jun 16, 2017. 10:00


AfricanFootball looks back at the continent’s history at the FIFA Confederations Cup through the years, with Cameroon set to mark their return to the competition this weekend.

Ivory Coast were CAF’s representatives at the first King Fahd Cup in 1992, where the Elephants suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Argentina and USA, while Nigeria were unlucky at the 1995 edition when they went unbeaten against Japan, Argentina and Mexico but still only finished fourth.

When the King Fahd Cup was rebranded the Confederations Cup, South Africa made their debut in Saudi Arabia in 1997. Bafana Bafana were entertaining to watch, but ultimately outclassed as they exited in the group phase after losses to the UAE and Uruguay.

Similar group stage exits for Egypt and Cameroon followed in 1999 and 2001 respectively, but in 2003 the Indomitable Lions represented the continent with pride.

Winfried Schafer’s team, led by the likes of Rigobert Song, Geremi and Samuel Eto’o ended as runners-up to France, but their wonderful showing in the tournament was overshadowed by the tragic death of midfielder Marc Vivien Foe, who collapsed on the pitch in the semifinal win over Colombia.

Tunisia made little impact at the 2005 edition in Germany, while four years later the tournament was held on African soil and featured two teams from the continent: hosts South Africa and Egypt.

While the Pharaohs exited in the group stage, they still made waves with a somewhat unlucky 4-3 loss to Brazil in one of the Confed Cup’s greatest-ever matches and a stunning 1-0 win over 2006 World Cup champions Italy.

The hosts fared better, progressing into the semifinals despite being held 0-0 by Iraq in their opener and suffering a 2-0 loss to Spain, who would go on to win the World Cup the following year.

Bafana Bafana then put up a brave showing against Brazil in the semifinal, but a last-gasp free kick from Dani Alves saw the South Americans progress at their expense.

The last Confederations Cup in Brazil four years ago featured a 6-1 win for Nigeria over Tahiti (Africa’s biggest victory at the tournament), but the Super Eagles were unable to advance from their group after losses to Uruguay and Spain.

Overall, African teams have played 33 matches at the Confederations Cup, recording nine wins, seven losses and 17 defeats.

Africa at the Confederations Cup

1992 King Fahd Cup, Saudi Arabia – Ivory Coast

Semifinal: Argentina 4-0 Ivory Coast

Third place playoff: USA 5-2 Ivory Coast

P2 W0 D0 L2 GF2 GA9

1995 King Fahd Cup, Saudi Arabia – Nigeria

Group stage: Japan 0-3 Nigeria

Group stage: Nigeria 0-0 Argentina

Third place playoff: Mexico 1-1 Nigeria – Mexico won 5-4 on penalties

P3 W1 D2 L0 GF4 GA1

1997 Confederations Cup, Saudi Arabia – South Africa

Group stage: South Africa 2-2 Czech Republic

Group stage: UAE 1-0 South Africa

Group stage: Uruguay 4-3 South Africa

P3 W0 D1 L2 GF5 GA7

1999 Confederations Cup, Mexico – Egypt

Group stage: Bolivia 2-2 Egypt

Group stage: Mexico 2-2 Egypt

Group stage: Egypt 1-5 Saudi Arabia

P3 W0 D2 L1 GF5 GA9

2001 Confederations Cup, South Korea – Cameroon

Group stage: Brazil 2-0 Cameroon

Group stage: Cameroon 0-2 Japan

Group stage: Cameroon 2-0 Canada

P3 W1 D0 L2 GF2 GA4

2003 Confederations Cup, France – Cameroon

Group stage: Brazil 0-1 Cameroon

Group stage: Cameroon 1-0 Turkey

Group stage: USA 0-0 Cameroon

Semifinal: Cameroon 1-0 Colombia

Final: Cameroon 0-1 France

P5 W3 D1 L1 GF3 GA1

2005 Confederations Cup, Germany – Tunisia

Group stage: Argentina 2-1 Tunisia

Group stage: Tunisia 0-3 Germany

Group stage: Australia 0-2 Tunisia

P3 W1 D0 L2 GF3 GA5

2009 Confederations Cup, South Africa – South Africa & Egypt

Group stage: Brazil 4-3 Egypt

Group stage: Egypt 1-0 Italy

Group stage: Egypt 0-3 USA

Group stage: South Africa 0-0 Iraq

Group stage: South Africa 2-0 New Zealand

Group stage: Spain 2-0 South Africa

Semifinal: Brazil 1-0 South Africa

Third place playoff: Spain 3-2 South Africa

Egypt – P3 W1 D0 L2 GF4 GA7

SA – P5 W1 D1 L3 GF4 GA6

2013 Confederations Cup, Brazil – Nigeria

Group stage: Tahiti 1-6 Nigeria

Group stage: Nigeria 1-2 Uruguay

Group stage: Nigeria 0-3 Spain

P3 W1 D0 L2 GF7 GA6

Africa’s combined record at the Confederations Cup

P33 W9 D7 L17 GF38 GA55



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AfricanFootball previews the weekend’s AFCON qualifiers


epa05773695 Nicolas Nkoulou of Cameroon challenged by Mohamed Salah of Egypt during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final match between Egypt and Cameroon at the Libreville in Gabon on 05 February 2017. EPA/Samuel Shivambu

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Jun 09, 2017. 11:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to a busy weekend of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, which will see a full 24 matches played across the continent.

The action gets underway this evening with a Group A match between Sudan and Madagascar in El Abyad, followed by a Group E clash between Libya (who still cannot host matches in their country because of continuing political instability) and minnows Seychelles.

Saturday sees a marathon 16 matches, starting from early afternoon and running all the way to the late hours of the night. 2019 hosts Cameroon will take on Morocco in Yaounde in the pick of the afternoon games, while the early evening clashes feature a classic rivalry as Nigeria host South Africa in Uyo.

Bafana Bafana, who have a new coach in the shape of Stuart Baxter, have never won a competitive match against the Super Eagles and will need to produce something very special against Gernot Rohr’s side if they are to break that drought.

Saturday’s late night games are dominated by three West African derbies: Mali welcome Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his Gabon team to Bamako; Senegal will be looking for revenge against Equatorial Guinea (following their famous 2012 AFCON match); and new Ivory Coast coach Marc Wilmots will target a winning start to Group H when his side hosts Guinea in Bouake.

Sunday sees a far less crammed schedule, but contains some potential thrillers nonetheless, starting with the meeting of Zimbabwe and Liberia in Harare in the early afternoon.

Four-time AFCON champions Ghana will be in action when they host Ethiopia in Kumasi, while the weekend’s action is wrapped with two mouth-watering games in North Africa.

First, Algeria and new coach Lucas Alcaraz will take on Togo and their ‘White Witchdoctor’ Claude Le Roy in Blida, followed by what will surely be a fiery derby between Tunisia and Egypt in Rades.

2019 AFCON qualifiers this weekend

All times CAT

Friday 9 June

Group A – Sudan v Madagascar – 21h00

Group E – Libya v Seychelles – 22h00

Saturday 10 June

Group B – Malawi v Comoros – 14h30

Group C – Burundi v South Sudan – 15h00

Group K – Zambia v Mozambique – 15h00

Group I – Botswana v Mauritania – 15h30

Group B – Cameroon v Morocco – 16h00

Group J – Niger v Swaziland – 17h00

Group E – Nigeria v South Africa – 18h00

Group K – Guinea-Bissau v Namibia – 18h00

Group F – Sierra Leone v Kenya – 18h30

Group L – Tanzania v Lesotho – 19h00

Group G – DR Congo v Congo Brazzaville – 19h30

Group L – Cape Verde v Uganda – 19h30

Group I – Burkina Faso v Angola – 20h00

Group C – Mali v Gabon – 21h00

Group A – Senegal v Equatorial Guinea – 22h00

Group H – Ivory Coast v Guinea – 22h00

Sunday 11 June

Group G – Zimbabwe v Liberia – 15h00

Group H – Central African Republic v Rwanda – 16h00

Group D – Benin v Gambia – 17h00

Group F – Ghana v Ethiopia – 17h30

Group D – Algeria v Togo – 23h00

Group J – Tunisia v Egypt – 23h59



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AfricanFootball wraps up Friday’s CAF Club matches


Oussama Darragi (R) of FUS Rabat vies for the ball with NayefAguero(L) Club Africain during the CAF Champions League match between FUS Rabat from Morocco and Club Africain from Tunisia, in Rabat ,Morocco on 02 June 2017.EPA/Abdelhak Senna

by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday Jun 03, 2017. 15:10


AfricanFootball reviews Friday’s action in the CAF Club competitions, which saw the likes of Al Ahli Tripoli, Esperance de Tunis and FUS Rabat claiming important victories.

The match of the day took place in Harare and saw Libya’s Al Ahli Tripoli claim a stunning 4-2 away win over CAPS United in Group B of the Champions League.

The North Africans dominated the game and had it wrapped up when they went 4-0 up through a brace from Sameh Derbali and strikes by Salem Ablo and Muadi Ellafi. CAPS scored two late goals, but they were little more than consolations for the hosts.

The Tripoli club’s victory brought them right back into quarterfinal contention in Group B, especially after Zamalek and USM Alger played to a 1-1 draw in Alexandria.

The White Knights needed a last-gasp goal from Emmanuel Mayuka to salvage the draw and stay on top of the pool on five points, with USM and Al Ahli Tripoli on four points apiece and CAPS on three.

The other Champions League clash took place in Pretoria and saw title holders Mamelodi Sundowns usurped at the top of Group C by Esperance de Tunis. The Tunisians won 2-1 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium thanks to a brace from Taha Yassine Khenissi, whose second goal arrived in the dying minutes.

In the Confederation Cup, Mbabane Swallows held Group B leaders MC Alger to a goalless draw in Swaziland, while the late game saw Morocco’s FUS Rabat defeat Tunisia’s Club Africain 2-1 to move three points clear at the top of Group A.

Friday’s CAF Club results

Champions League

CAPS United 2-4 Al Ahli Tripoli

Mamelodi Sundowns 1-2 Esperance Tunis

Zamalek 1-1 USM Alger

Confederation Cup

Mbabane Swallows 0-0 MC Alger

FUS Rabat 2-1 Club Africain



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AfricanFootball wraps up the Absa Premiership’s final day


Ryan Moon of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Thulani Hlatshwayo of Bidvest Wits during the Absa Premiership 2016/17 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg South Africa on 27 May 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday May 27, 2017. 20:00


AfricanFootball wraps up the final day’s action in the 2016/17 Absa Premiership season, which saw Highlands Park suffer direct relegation from the top flight, while Baroka FC will participate in the playoffs.

Bidvest Wits were given the championship trophy as winners of the league, though their wonderful campaign ended on something of a low note as they were beaten 1-0 by Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium. Nonetheless, the defeat didn’t dampen the deserved celebrations for coach Gavin Hunt and his side.

With the Clever Boys having secured the title earlier in the month, the interest in this final round of matches was focused on the relegation battle. Baroka FC came into their game against Ajax Cape Town placed at the bottom of the log, but a 1-0 win over the Urban Warriors thanks to a goal from Letladi Madubanya lifted them to second-last.

Instead, it was Highlands Park who finished bottom and suffered direct relegation to the second tier. The Lions of the North held Mamelodi Sundowns 2-2 at Makhulong Stadium (thanks to a last-gaps goal from Mothobi Mvala), but Baroka’s unexpected victory did them in.

The Limpopo side’s win also affected the shape of the top eight finishers (who will play in next season’s MTN8), as Ajax dropped out and Golden Arrows claimed eighth place at their expense thanks to a 2-1 win over Orlando Pirates in Durban.

Another game in KwaZulu-Natal saw Maritzburg United secure seventh place with a 1-1 draw against Bloemfontein Celtic, who survived the potential threat of relegation – as did Free State Stars and Chippa United, following their goalless stalemate in Bethlehem.

Polokwane City finished a club-record sixth and finished off a fine campaign in great style as they defeated Cape Town City 4-2 at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium, while Stuart Baxter’s final league game in charge of SuperSport United was a 1-0 loss against Platinum Stars.

The 2016/17 top flight season will wrap up with the relegation/promotion playoffs featuring Baroka, Black Leopards and Stellenbosch FC, as well as the Nedbank Cup final in just under a month’s time between SuperSport and Pirates.

Absa Premiership Round 30 results:

Saturday, 27 May 2017

SuperSport United 0-1 Platinum Stars

Polokwane City 4-2 Cape Town City

Highlands Park 2-2 Mamelodi Sundowns

Ajax Cape Town 0-1 Baroka FC

Maritzburg United 1-1 Bloemfontein Celtic

Free State Stars 0-0 Chippa United

Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 Bidvest Wits

Golden Arrows 2-1 Orlando Pirates



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