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CAF Confederation Cup

WHO LIFT CAF CONFEDERATION CUP?

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BY APESIN ADEMOLA.

 

The first of two legs to determine the champions of Africa’s second tier club competition holds at the 45,000 capacity Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca.

 

Nigerians will understandably support DR Congo’s AS Vita Club to lift the title; their opponents Raja Casablanca being responsible for the exit of Enyimba in the semifinals on 3-1 aggregate.

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Going down memory lane also, it was a Moroccan team (FAR Rabat) that denied Dolphins the CAF Confederation Cup in 2005. Dolphins, which have since been merged with Sharks to form Rivers United, pipped FAR 1-0 in Port Harcourt on November 6 of that year but got humiliated 3-0 in Rabat 13 days later.

 

DR Congo have also incurred the wrath of Nigerians. TP Mazembe inflicted pains on a Nigerian club in the final of a continental club competition.

 

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In the 2009 edition of CAF Champions League, TP Mazembe denied Heartland the opportunity of becoming the second Nigerian team to win the CAF Champions League after Enyimba’s back-to-back victories in 2003 and 2004. In the first leg at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri, Heartland managed to win 2-1. Losing the reverse fixture 0-1 in Lubumbashi, meant that TP Mazembe won that title for the third time on away goal advantage.

 

AS Vita Club’s journey in Africa this year started at the CAF Champions League where they bundled out Malawi’s Mighty Wanderers 6-1 at the preliminary round but lost 2-3 aggregate to Morocco’s Difaâ Hassani d’el-Jadida 2-3 to be relegated to the Confederation Cup.

 

In the playoff, AS Vita Club, the current champions of the Linafoot (DR Congo’s top flight league), walloped neighbouring Congo Republic’s La Mancha 6-1 aggregate and were paired with tonight’s opponents Raja Casablanca in the group stage.

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In the first leg in Casablanca, both sides played goalless, while AS Vita Club prevailed at home 2-0 in the return match. Raja however won the group, while AS Vita Club qualified for the quarterfinals as runners-up.

 

Another Moroccan team RS Berkane were Vita Club’s victims in the quarterfinals which they won 4-2, while Al-Masry of Egypt fell 0-4 in the last four.

 

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This is Vita Club’s first time in the final of any CAF club tournament since winning the 1973 African Cup of Champions Clubs. They will be seeking to keep the CAF Confederation Cup at home as TP Mazembe were champions last year following a successful defence of the title they won the previous year.

 

Raja, on their part, have three CAF Champions League and one Confederation Cup shields in their trophy cabinet.

 

The Moroccan club eliminated FC Nouadhibou of Mauritania and Zambia’s Zanaco on their way to the group stage of the competition. Having won Group A that included AS Vita Club, Raja knocked out CARA Brazzaville of Congo Republic 3-1 in the quarterfinals before coming to Enyimba International Stadium, Aba to beat the home side 1-0 and consolidated 2-1 in Casablanca.

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The winners of the Confederation Cup this year will have achieved a first for their home association as it will field three teams as against the maximum two in the 2018/19 edition.

 

As a result of the abridged nature of the 2018/19 CAF club tournaments, the identify of the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup winners was not known when the draw was conducted on November 3 ahead of the preliminary round which starts next Tuesday.

 

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With AS Vita Club having already qualified for the Champions League, SM Sanga Balende, the fourth placed side in the 2017/18 domestic league in DR Congo, will be listed in the 2018/19 CAF Confederation Cup if their compatriots overcome Raja Casablanca. They will join DC Motema Pembe and AS Nyuki as DR Congo’s contingent to the competition. But while those other teams will start from the preliminary round, SM Sanga Balende will receive a bye into the first round.

 

The same situation will apply if Raja lift the CAF Confederation Cup. Unlike AS Vita Club however, Raja have failed to qualify for any CAF competition but will go straight to the first round of the next Confederation Cup if they win the current edition, the same stage RS Berkane, another Moroccan representatives, will start their CAF Confederation  Cup journey. What will them be Morocco’s third team Hassania Agadir will line up at the preliminary stage.

 

Fixture…

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CAF Confederation Cup (Final first leg): Raja Casablanca (Morocco) v AS Vita Club (DR Congo) (8pm)

 

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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