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CAF Confederation Cup

How Rivers Failed To Flow in Tunisia

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BY SAMMY WEJINYA

 

Nigeria’s Rivers United had a shaky beginning as the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup got underway at the weekend. No thanks to the 3-1 loss inflicted by Club Africain.

The score line put the Nigerian side trailing third in a group of four teams as another North African side, FUS Rabat beat Uganda’s KCCA by three goals to nil to take an early lead of the group.

The Nigerian club failed to hit expected heights in the first half as the Tunisians deservedly took a 2-0 lead into the break courtesy of goals from Ifa Bilal who rose highest to head home a corner and Oussama Darragi who converted a penalty with frightening force on the stroke of half time to extend the hosts’ advantage.

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The Pride of Rivers stormed back after the break and pulled a goal back through new boy, John Odumegwu who struck a precise effort into the far corner from the edge of the penalty area past the Club Africain goal keeper Faruk Ben Mustapha.

With United on the ascendancy and looking the more likely of the two sides to claim the game’s next goal, disaster struck as Joseph Douhadji scored an own goal to restore Club Africain’s two-goal cushion.

Emeka Ogbugh missed a penalty with just over 11 minutes remaining as the Tunisians closed out a crucial win.  Coach Stanley Eguma addressed the media after the defeat insisting that there were positives to draw from the defeat.   “We did not find our feet in the first half and conceded two goals,” he said at the post match press conference captured by www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.

“In the second half, we corrected our mistakes and scored a goal. We got a penalty and if we had converted it, it would have made a lot of difference as my boys would have pushed for the equalizer,” he said.

Head coach of Club Africain, Chibeb Ellili also voiced his sentiments after the pulsating contest decided at the Stade Olympique de Radès, Radès.

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“Rivers United was fresher than us in the second half because I had four players who had not played for a long time in the team.

“The fitness was not there in the second half. Also, Rivers United had nothing to lose in the second half and they have a lot of fast players with and without the ball,” he said.

Rivers United will next meet table topper, FUS Rabat,  in Port Harcourt on May 24.

 

Group A

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P    W    D    L     F    A   GD     Pts

FUS Rabat       1     1     0     0    3    0     +3       3

Club Africain  1      1     0     0    3   1      +2       3

Rivers United 1      0     0    1    1    3      -2       0

KCCA              1      0     0    1      0     3    -3     0

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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.

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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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