Connect with us

CAF Confederation Cup

For Rivers United, It’s Mission Impossible

Published

on

FROM  SAMMY WEJINYA, Rabat, MOROCCO.

Again, Nigeria are out of the CAF Confederation Cup, a tournament which honour has eluded the country since it began 13 years ago. No thanks to Rivers United’s 2-1 loss to FUS of Morocco on Friday night as the matches in Group A were rounded up.

Antonin Panenka resurfaced in the shape of a Moroccan – Youssef El Gnaoui – to leave pain and gnashing of teeth in his wake as Nigerian side, Rivers United FC bowed out of the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup with a whimper.

United needed to win at a rocking Stade du FUS (Hay Nahda, Rabat) but started on the back foot with the North Africans pushing and probing in search of an early goal.

They almost got it in the fourth minute when El Gnaoui forced a brilliant save off the Rivers United goalkeeper, Abiodun Akande who would go on to have a barn storming game.

Advertisement

Three minutes later, United were reeling again as Ifeanyi Nweke rallied to produce a goal line clearance before Akande evoked memories of former Colombia international maverick goalkeeper, Rene Higuita by heading away a dangerous free kick.

FUS continued to dominate but profligacy coupled with an Akande in inspired form, kept the former Botola Pro champions at bay.

There is a maxim in football which buttresses a point about paying the price when you fail to convert numerous opportunities and it was ruthlessly displayed when United scored with their first real opening of the game.

Nweke’s opportunistic cross into the FUS box was flapped at by goalkeeper, Aymane Majid and the loose ball fell towards the path of poacher, Bolaji Sakin.

The big striker could not believe his luck as he calmly took aim and curled the ball into the far corner to give the ‘Pride of Rivers’ a fortuitous lead.

Advertisement

It was a horrible time to concede but to their credit, FUS did not panic; they stayed true to their ideals and philosophy; playing their passing game which soon led to ultimate punishment for the Port Harcourt club in a high octane second half.

Youssef El Gnaoui tapped into an unguarded net from close range in the 52nd minute following good work by El Mehdi El Bassil after Bernard Ovoke unsuccessfully tried to dribble his way from the back.

The Moroccans struck the final nail into the Rivers United coffin with just two minutes remaining on the clock when Mohammed Fouzair converted a penalty – ala Panenka- after Festus Austine needlessly handled the ball in the box.

It was a richly deserved victory for the Moroccans who dominated and were denied on two occasions by goal line clearances from Nweke and Joseph Douhadji.

The Rivers United goalkeeper, Abiodun Akande was his side’s best performer on the day as he produced a series of top class save to help keep the eventual result respectable.

Advertisement

Technical manager of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma and his counterpart from FUS Rabat, Hoalid Regragui gave their thoughts about the game in a post-match press conference covered by our official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.

Rivers United finished bottom of Group A with six points from six matches while KCCA finished in third place with nine points after losing 0-4 in Tunis to the eventual table toppers, Club Africain.

United and KCCA thus crash out of the competition at the group stage while the two North Africans march on.

FUS Rabat qualified for the quarter finals after finishing in second place with nine points from six matches.

 

Advertisement

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

CAF Confederation Cup

Shehu Dikko, Okey Obi get important roles at Confederation Cup final match

Published

on

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.

Advertisement

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.

Continue Reading

CAF Champions League

BREAKING: CAF adopts Yoruba name, “Ola” for official match ball!

Published

on

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. 

Continue Reading

CAF Confederation Cup

Final, second-leg: Zamalek v RS Berkane: Facts & Figures

Published

on

Zamalek will host Moroccan side RS Berkane in the second-leg of the final of  CAF Confederation Cup in Cairo on Sunday.

The stakes are high as both teams vie for the title, with the Egyptian seeking to capitalize on their home advantage to overturn the 2-1 first leg deficit against RS Berkane.

RS Berkane will be eager to secure the result that would hand them the title ahead of Zamalek even though the Egyptian giants aim to assert themselves.

CAFOnline.com takes a look at some interesting facts and figures ahead of the second-leg clash:

Zamalek could become the first side to win the CAF Confederation Cup despite losing the first leg of the final since themselves in 2019 against RS Berkane (0-1, 1-0 then 5-3 after the penalty shootout).

Advertisement


With their win over Zamalek in the first leg, RS Berkane are now the last unbeaten side in the CAF Confederation Cup this season (W8 D3, including two awarded wins in the semi-finals).


Zamalek have never lost a home game in the CAF Confederation Cup (W11 D4), but they drew the most recent two (1-1 v Modern Future and 0-0 v Dreams in the knockout phase this season).


RS Berkane scored their fifth and sixth goals following a set piece in the CAF Confederation Cup this season during the first leg, equalling Zamalek as the side with the most goals from dead ball situations.


Zamalek have the highest possession rate on average in the 2023-24 CAF Confederation Cup (63%), that’s at least six percentage points more than any other side.


Adil Tahif (RS Berkane) and Seifeddine Jaziri (Zamalek) have both scored their second headed goal in the 2023-24 CAF Confederation Cup during the first leg of the final, only Paul Valère Bassène (RS Berkane) has done as well.

Advertisement


Zizo (Zamalek) provided his fifth assist in the 2023-24 CAF Confederation Cup, no player has given more assists over a single edition since Opta began detailed data collection (2016-17).


Nabil Emad (Zamalek) has completed 409 passes in the CAF Confederation Cup in 2024, at least 114 more than any other player. 74 of those were in the first leg of the final while no other player completed at least 50 passes in that game.

-CAF

Continue Reading

Most Viewed