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CAF Confederation Cup

Dreams FC dreams coming true? … secure goalless draw against Zamalek in Cairo

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Ghana’s team in the CAF Confederation Cup, Dreams FC, is living up to their name. The continental debutants are indeed dreaming dreams. If this is a dream, please don’t wake them up. They have just upset one of the powerhouses in Africa.  

The Egyptian giants Zamalek failed to make their dominance count as they were held to a goalless draw by  Dreams FC in the first leg of their  Confederation Cup semi-final in Cairo on Sunday.

The White Knights enjoyed the better of the chances in Cairo but lacked a cutting edge in the final third against their well-organised opponents.

Portuguese coach Jose Gomes will be concerned by his side’s profligacy ahead of next Sunday’s return in Kumasi, where an away goal for Dreams could prove pivotal.

Zamalek applied plenty of early pressure, with Shikabala, Mostafa Shalaby and Ahmed Hamdi all going close to breaking the deadlock before the midway point of the first half.

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Dreams goalkeeper Solomon Agbasi had to be alert to keep out efforts from Shikabala and Travis Mutyaba as Zamalek’s wastefulness in front of goal continued.

The visitors started to gain a foothold and went close through John Antwi, whose powerful strike was well blocked by the impressive Hossam Abdelmaguid.

Shalaby was replaced by Benin international Samson Akinyoola at the break but Zamalek’s frustrations mounted, with the hosts struggling to carve out clear-cut openings.

Akinyoola dragged an effort wide before Shikabala forced a smart save from Agbasi as the offside flag repeatedly came to Dreams’ rescue.

There was still time for Ibrahima Ndiaye to rattle the crossbar late on, but ultimately Zamalek could not find a way through the stubborn Ghanaian rearguard.

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Dreams will fancy their chances of reaching the final on away goals if they can shut out Zamalek again in Kumasi next weekend.

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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