Zambia and Zimbabwe renew rivalry in ‘celebratory’ match

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 15:00

The Chipolopolo of Zambia are set to face Zimbabwe in an international friendly as the country celebrates the new dawn in the government.

The Zimbabwean Football Association has confirmed the match is set to be a celebratory friendly on December 23 at National Sports Stadium, Harare.

Zimbabwe will celebrate their new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from Robert Mugabe, the long serving president who held the seat for over three decades.

Furthermore, a legends match involving Zimbabwe and South Africa will curtain the international friendly.

“As the custodians of the nation’s most popular sport code, ZIFA duly appreciates the sincere call by His Excellency for every citizen regardless of political orientation, tribe, gender, colour or creed to positively contribute towards the building of our nation,” said ZIFA.

“Sports in general and football in particular are a proven catalyst for unity, peace and social cohesion.

“We are confident that the new start that the nation has been granted in the hands of His Excellency Mnangagwa will lead not only to the revival but flourishing success of sport.”

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Wits, Sundowns renew their rivalry – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

Granwald Scott of Bidvest Wits challenges Khama Billiat of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership match between Bidbest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns on 01 May 2017 at Bidvest Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 20, 2017. 09:30

Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns will renew their rivalry in the Absa Premiership when they meet at the Bidvest Stadium on 21 November 2017, kick-off at 19h30.

Wits hit a new low in the defence of their title as they slumped to a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Chippa United on November 1. It was the Johannesburg side’s fifth loss in just nine league matches this season.

Three of those defeats have come at home, with the Clever Boys unable to turn Bidvest Stadium into a fortress like they did last season. However, Wits did manage a home win against Orlando Pirates in September and the visit of another league heavyweight may inspire them to up their game.

Sundowns bounced back from two straight defeats by handing Orlando Pirates a 3-1 beating in Soweto on November 1, with Hlompho Kekana scoring a brace of goals – one of which was a ‘goal of the season’ contender.

The Brazilians have had a similar problem to Wits in terms of home form (they have lost all three matches as hosts this season), but when it comes to their travels, Pitso Mosimane’s side have been peerless, claiming four wins from as many games on the road.

In head-to-head stats, Wits and Sundowns have met in 63 league matches since 1985. The Brazilians have claimed 34 wins compared to 17 for the Clever Boys, while 12 matches have been drawn. The Johannesburg side has won 13 of their 32 home league matches against their Tshwane counterparts, suffering 15 defeats in the process.

Last season ‘Downs claimed a 2-0 home win in the first half of the campaign, but Wits replied with a 1-0 triumph in Johannesburg in the return game – the result sealed their first Absa Premiership title. The Clever Boys’ last three home league matches against the Brazilians have produced just three goals.

Wits’ line-up from their 2-0 loss to Chippa on November 1: Keet, Allie, Khumalo, Hlatshwayo, Hlanti, Pelembe (Keene 82’), Scott, Mlambo (Pienaar 63’), Klate, Pule (Phiri 75’), Gamal.

Sundowns’ line-up from their 3-1 win over Pirates on November 1: Onyango, Langerman, Soumahoro, Morena, Madisha, Ngcongca, Kekana (T. Zwane 75′), Mabunda, Vilakazi (Laffor 79′), Manyisa, Tau (Billiat 69′).

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Wits, Chiefs renew cup rivalry

Gustavo Paez of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Sifiso Hlanti 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

Graeme Jackson

Friday Nov 17, 2017. 09:30

Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs will write another chapter in their extensive cup history when they meet in the semifinals of the Telkom Knockout at Bidvest Stadium on 18 November 2017, kick-off at 15h30.

Wits and Chiefs have met in no less than 28 cup matches since 1985: the Soweto side have claimed 14 wins in the rivalry compared to seven for the Johannesburg side (who have also side claimed four victories via a penalty shootout).

The teams’ last cup meeting was in the 2014 Nedbank Cup semifinals, where the match ended 2-2 before Wits went on to win via post-match spot kicks, while the pair last crossed swords in the Telkom Knockout back in 2012 in a match which saw the Clever Boys claim a narrow 3-2 win.

Overall, the teams have met in 91 matches across all competitions since 1985. Chiefs have claimed 45 wins compared to 19 for Wits, while 27 matches have been drawn. The teams have met once already this season, playing out a 1-1 draw in a league clash back in September: Siphiwe Tshabalala opened the scoring for the Amakhosi, but the Clever Boys hit back late on through Amr Gamal.

Wits earned their place in the semifinals thanks to victories over Free State Stars (4-2 after extra time) and Baroka FC (1-0) in the last 16 and quarterfinals respectively. The Clever Boys are two-time League Cup champions, claiming the trophy in 1985 and 1995, and will fancy their chances of a first title in the Telkom Knockout era if they can overcome the Soweto giants.

Chiefs, meanwhile, overcame AmaZulu (3-0) and Chippa (1-0) in the last 16 and quarterfinals respectively to claim a place in the final four of the 2017 TKO. The Soweto giants have won a record 13 League Cup titles (three of them in the TKO era), though their last triumph was in the 2010/11 season.

The winners of this match will go on to face either Polokwane City or Bloemfontein Celtic – who meet at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday, 19 November – in the final next month.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Faouzi Ghoulam – Algerian to renew with Napoli? – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 01, 2017. 19:00

Faouzi Ghoulam will be in the Napoli shop window for perhaps the last time this evening when the Italian side hosts Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League.

Napoli and City will meet for their Matchday 4, Group F clash at Stadio San Paolo, kick-off at 21h45 CAT.

Ghoulam has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League, with City, Liverpool and Chelsea all reported to be keen on signing the Algerian.

However, Sportmediaset claims that the left-back will sign a new contract with Napoli up to the end of the 2019/20 season, with a buy-out clause of €35-million.

Regardless, Ghoulam is set to be a key figure for Napoli tonight as they look to avenge a 2-1 loss at the Etihad two weeks ago.

The 26-year-old has also been named in Algeria’s 23-man squad named by new coach Rabah Madjer.

The Fennec Foxes are set to face Nigeria and Central African Republic in the upcoming international window.

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Mali, Ghana renew rivalry in U-17 World Cup – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup

Colombia’s Brayan Gomez (L) in action against Ghana’s Emmanuel Toku (R) during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match between Colombia and Ghana at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 19, 2017. 18:00

Mali and Ghana will renew their rivalry at the U-17 level when they meet in a World Cup quarterfinal at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday, kick-off at 13h30 CAT.

Mali earned their place in the last eight by finishing runners-up to Paraguay in Group B, before thrashing Iraq 5-1 in their last 16 clash on Tuesday, while Ghana topped Group A and then ousted fellow Africans Niger 2-0 on Wednesday.

These teams are familiar foes and it is fitting that they are the continent’s last representatives, having met in the final of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon back in May.

In that match in Libreville it was Mali who claimed a narrow 1-0 victory – thanks to a first-half goal from Mamadou Samake – to be crowned African champions at the Black Starlets’ expense.

Ghana coach Paa Kwesi Fabin was not happy with the way his side wasted chances against Niger, but is still confident of their chances against the Young Eagles.

“Definitely it is a concern and we are working on it,” Fabin told reporters in regards to his team’s finishing.

“It’s a work in progress and definitely when it’s an U-17 team, you know that definitely they will keep making such mistakes and I will keep correcting them until we get what we want.

“I’m satisfied with the two goals we scored and in fact it has taken us to the next stage.”

Fabin also believes his Ghana can go all the way in the tournament: “Definitely we are here and I believe every team that has qualified hold the mentality to win the trophy, so we are thinking alike.”

Mali coach Komla, meanwhile, has fended off allegations that his side are fielding overage players. Iraq coach Qahran Al-Rubaye claimed the Africans looked like “an U-23 team” in the last 16 match.

“In football, it is important to accept the results. In a tournament of this stature, there are clear rules and testing for every player is performed before the World Cup. We have passed all the required tests and guidelines, so you have to accept it,” explained Komla.

The winner of the Mali-Ghana match will play either Spain or Iran in the semifinals on Wednesday 25 October in Navi Mumbai.

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Celtic, Wits renew rivalry – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

Gerald Phiri of Bidvest Wits (r) celebrates goal during the 2017/18 Absa Premiership football match between Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates at Bidvest Stadium, Johannesburg on 23 September 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Sunday Oct 01, 2017. 12:00

Bloemfontein Celtic and Bidvest Wits will renew their rivalry when they meet in an Absa Premiership clash at Dr Molemela Stadium on 1 October 2017, kick-off at 15h00.

Celtic played to their third draw of the season when they were held 0-0 at Chippa United on September 24. The Bloemfontein side has failed to score in either of their last two league matches and will want to break that drought as quickly as possible.

Phunya Sele Sele have played just twice at home so far in the 2017/18 campaign: they drew 1-1 with Kaizer Chiefs in the opening round and succumbed to a 2-0 loss at the hands of Baroka FC on matchday four.

Wits finally claimed their first league win of the season when they defeated Orlando Pirates 1-0 at home on September 23. The Johannesburg side scored early through Gerald Phiri Jr and were able to hold out and claim all three points.

The Clever Boys have claimed two points from their three away matches so far this season, though their last game on the road ended in an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at the hands of AmaZulu.

In head-to-head stats, Celtic and Wits have met in 55 league matches since 1985. The Clever Boys have claimed 23 wins compared to 17 for Phunya Sele Sele, while 15 matches have been drawn. The Bloemfontein side has claimed 12 wins from 27 home league matches against Wits, suffering eight defeats in the process.

Last season the Johannesburg side claimed a league ‘double’ over Celtic: they won 2-1 in Bloemfontein in the first half of the campaign, and 3-1 in the return game in Gauteng. Former Phunya Sele Sele striker Frank Mhango scored for the Clever Boys in both matches.

Celtic’s line-up from their 0-0 draw with Chippa on September 24: Tignyemb, Baloyi, Letlabika, Pfumbidzai, Rikhotso, Hotto, Ndengane, Phalane, Mabena (Motshegwa 90′), Mabaso (Nyundu 50′), Letsoalo (Mahlasela 66′).

Wits’ line-up from their 1-0 win over Pirates on September 23: Josephs, Khumalo, Ntshangase, Hlanti, Phiri Jnr (Rodgers 69′), Keene (Scott 66′), Damjanovic, Motshwari, Monare, Frosler, Gamal (Klate 79′).

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Al Ahly, Etoile renew their rivalry

Bertin Basson

Saturday Sep 30, 2017. 10:00

Al Ahly and Étoile Sportive du Sahel will renew their rivalry in the CAF Champions League when they go head-to-head in a semifinal first-leg clash at the Stade Olympique de Sousse on Sunday evening.

Kick-off is at 18h30 local time (19h30 CAT).

The Red Devils are unrivaled in Africa’s premier club competition, and will be aiming to reach an 11th final in the CAFCL with victory over two-legs.

Al Ahly booked their place in the final four following a 4-3 aggregate win over Espérance de Tunis, and will now be eyeing victory over another Tunisian outfit.

The ‘Club of the Century’ were held to a 2-2 draw at home, but showed their mettle in Radès to emerge as aggregate winners over Espérance, Junior Ajayi with the decisive goal on the day.

ESS, who clinched the 2007 title following a 3-1 aggregate win over this weekend’s counterparts, beat Libyan outfit Al-Ahli Tripoli in the semifinals. Amr Marey with a brace in the second-leg for the Tunisian powerhouse.

The result is one of only two defeats suffered by Al Ahly in a final, with the Egyptians boasting no fewer than eight titles. The Red Devils beat their North African counterparts 3-0 overall in the 2005 final.

Al Ahly, though, haven’t won the CAFCL in four years, and are growing ever restless heading to the Mediterranean coast.

“Our fantastic fans are demanding that we win the Champions League this year,” said Al Ahly head coach Hossam el Badry.

“They want a ninth star on our shirts and a chance to compete against the best at the FIFA Club World Cup.

“Our target is to win the Champions League this year – nothing less,” he concluded.

Gabonese match official Eric Otogo-Castane will take charge of the clash.

The reverse fixture will take place in Alexandria on the 20th of October 2017.

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Congo-Brazzaville and DR Congo renew rivalry

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

Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Aug 10, 2017. 18:00

Congo-Brazzaville will welcome their neighbours Democratic Republic of Congo in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier on Friday.

Kick-off is at 16h30 CAT.

The Central Zone first-leg encounter is scheduled to take place at the Stade Municipal de Kintele in the city of Brazzaville.

Nicknamed the Red Devils, Congo-Brazzaville have qualified for the CHAN finals once. They participated in the 2014 finals in South Africa and they could not reach the knockout stage.

Red Devils coach Barthelemy Gatsono has called two new faces Ondongo Julfin and Botamba Matheus ahead of the clash with DR Congo

The midfield trio of Hermann Kakolo, Gandze Cesair and Harris Tchilimbou, who are all on the books of Congo-Brazzaville club Leopards, are also part of the squad.

Meanwhile, DR Congo, who are nicknamed, the Leopards, have participated in all four finals of the CHAN tournament and they have won the title twice in 2009 and 2016.

Mwinyi Zahera, the Leopards coach, has called up DR Congo giants TP Mazembe’s two deadly attackers Meschak Elia and Deo Kanda-A-Mukok.

Bompunga Botuli Padua, Bangala Litombo Yannick and Ngonda Muzinga Glody, who are AS Vita Club defenders, have also been named in the DR Congo squad.

Referee Jean Marc Ganamandji, who hails from Central African Republic (CAR), will be in charge of the encounter between Congo-Brazzaville and DR Congo.

The second-leg clash will be played in Kinshasa, DR Congo next weekend. The winner on aggregate will advance to the finals which will be hosted by Kenya.

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