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Sat, Aug

Latest reports reveal that Egypt and South Africa will have four clubs in the CAF Champions League as of 2018 following changes by the continent’s football governing body, CAF.

Although South Africa only had two teams representing the country in the continental club competition, that is set to change next year.

Winners of the Premier Soccer League (Absa Premiership) and the runners-up gained automatic qualification in the tournament and SAFA boss Danny Jordaan said things are about to change.

The changes were discussed during CAF’s football symposium held in Morocco last week where CAF competitions are set to run from August-May.

‘‘If you look at what is happening in the Premier League in England‚ the first thing those clubs try to do is win the league title and if they can’t do it‚ then the next motivation is to try to get into the top four to have a guarantee of going into the UEFA Champions League‚” Jordaan said.

‘‘As you can see for both Egypt and South Africa they (CAF) have allocated four places in the Champions League and that is on the basis that these teams are strong‚ thriving and truly professional teams.

‘‘Some of our teams (in SA) can compete with the best clubs anywhere in the world. But it is not so for every country in the world.

‘‘This is something we have to greatly support and give more attention to‚ which is part of the reason why we come here (to SA) in September to address this matter.

‘‘Even professional football in this country has come a long way and it is now that it has taken a step up. It is not so on the rest of the continent.”

The changes in the South African football come after reigning African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns clinched the CAF Champions League last year.

In this year’s edition, the Brazilians are in the quarter-finals whilst SuperSport United are in the same stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

In a press conference on Thursday, now former Zamalek manager Inacio said that he wished he could stay at Zamalek to help bring trophies to the club.

Zamalek mutually terminated his contract following a string of disappointing results, culminating in a 1-0 loss to Al Ahed in the Arab Club Championships the day before.

The Portuguese manager took to the press and gave some comments about his stay with the Egyptian team.

He stated his desire to continue and remain in his position as the manager of  and win tournaments with the White Castle.

“I was happy to work with Zamalek, I wish I could stay and win more championships,” Inacio said.

He failed to guide the team to an African Champions League spot as they finished third in the Egyptian Premier League standings, behind Misr El-Maqassa and . Zamalek’s disappointing season also saw them eliminated from the 2016/17 CAF Champions league group stage after finishing behind Al Ahli Tripoli and USM Alger in Group B.

“I have become a fan of Zamalek [during my time here]. I will always watch Zamalek; my concentration with Zamalek made me decline managerial offers from other clubs,” the Portuguese manager continued.

During the press conference, the 62-year-old journeyman also gave advice to other Portuguese managers in the Egyptian Premier League: “I will advise any Portuguese coach to focus on everything in his contract. There are conditions and obligations that must be followed.”

“Zamalek need to be more stable, the coaches must have enough time. The players must be more professional and do their best,” Inacio concluded.

Since 2015, Zamalek has seen no fewer than 9 managerial changes.

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says they have to keep winning trophies in order to match Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in terms of supporters.

The Brazilians have done well in recent times as they managed to lift the CAF Champions League title last season. 

However, the Tshwane giants are still struggling to attract numbers at their games compared to their Soweto counterparts in South Africa.

Accordingly, it is reported that Mosimane's men have been teased by their next CAF Champions League opponents in the quarterfinals, Wydad Casablanca.

The Moroccan giants are said to have poked fun at the Brazilians, saying they will be coming up against a team that needs to let fans come in for free to fill their stadium.

This comes after the African Champions called on Masandawana to fill up the Lucas Moripe Stadium free of charge if they wear their yellow colours.

“You can’t outdo (Kaizer) Chiefs and (Orlando) Pirates’ history. A lot of children inherit their support for them through their parents,” said Mosimane to the Sowetan website.

"So it will always grow but you can also grow with it by winning.

"That’s why they will always be bigger. So you have to win the big trophies and play in the bigger spaces to influence fans.

"Look at Mamelodi for instance‚ it has Chiefs and Pirates’ fans too. We are trying to have a bigger influence there.

"That’s why when we win‚ we always go there to parade the trophy. Nothing gives me joy than seeing children in Sundowns’ jerseys in Mamelodi. It’s unbelievable.

"That’s how you grow your support base. The trophy says we are stronger than them (Chiefs and Pirates)‚ we have seven league titles. But we need to do more to get the fans like them.”

Antonin Panenka resurfaced in the shape of a Moroccan – Youssef El Gnaoui - on Friday night in Rabat 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.

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.

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. 

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.  

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. 

Teams

FUS Rabat: Aymane Majid, Mehdi Khalis, Saad Khorsa (Hamza Semmoumy 74’), Naif Aguerd, Ayoub Skouma, Mohammed Fouzair, Badr Boulhroud, Lamina Diakite, Zakaria Benlamachi, El Mehdi El Bassil and Youssouf El Gnaoui (Mohammed Saoud 86’).

Substitutes not used: Ibourahima Sidibe and Younes Ezziadi.

Rivers United: Abiodun Akande, Festus Austine, Douhadji Joseph, Ifeanyi Nweke, Ovoke Bernard (Guy Kuemian 90), Saka Ayo (Egbuonu Odumegwu 66’), Bolaji Sakin (Wassa Gabriel 81’), Zoumana Doumbia levitra  Lukman Mohammed  Alliassou Sanou  and Ojobo Markson.

Substitutes not used: Femi Thomas, Ayobami Asekunowo and Obomate Frederick.

Yellow cards: Zoumana Doumbia (59’) and Abiodun Akande (87’)

 

The 2017 WAFU tournament will be launched today Thursday July 27 at the Labadi beach hotel in Accra with the Live draw also to be held at the event.

Tournament sponsors FOX Broadcasting network and key officials from various West African countries have arrived in Accra for the launch of the tournament.

A pre tournament workshop will also be held today before the launch of the event.

Some former footballers have been invited to the event for the Live draw of the event with the Sports minister and other government officials expected to attend.

Media personnel who applied for accreditation to cover today launch should be the the venue before 4pm with prove of identity.

The tournament will be held at the Sekondi Stadium and the Cape Coast Stadium from 9th September to 24 September 2017.

President of AFCON, Amaju Pinnick, told the gathering of African football’s decision makers yesterday in Rabat why CAF’s flagship tournament should be expanded.

“This proposal is hinged on sporting, commercial and infrastructural reasons, and we believe that sooner than later, everyone would come to appreciate the position of the proponents of a bigger Africa Cup of Nations.

“George Weah from Liberia became the only African to have been named the World Player of the Year, same year he was voted the African Player of the Year and European Player of the Year. He is from a nation (Liberia) many would consider a minnow in the African game. If we have a bigger AFCON, there will definitely be more talented players coming onto the stage, and we could just discover that the next ‘Weah’ would come from either Djibouti or Botswana.

“For commercial reason, more corporate organizations and stakeholders will be involved and it is certainly a bigger cake for everyone. CAF will be richer and the Member Associations will surely benefit. When UEFA staged the European Championship in 2012, when it was a 16 –team event, they made a profit of $1.5 billion. Last year, when they staged a 24 –team event for the first time, they made $2.1 billion.

“Having a 24 –team AFCON will also compel the development of stadia facilities across the African continent, as CAF will certainly encourage co-hosting, and this will also ginger general infrastructural development in the continent.”

The African Football Symposium with the theme, 'African Football: Our Vision' ended yesterday in Rabat, Morocco with high hopes for the future of football in Africa.

The 2018 CAA African Senior Athletics Championships set to hold in Asaba, Delta state received a big boost after Chinese automaker, GAC Motors backed the championships with a sponsorship deal worth N800 million.


In a bid to reduce the cost burden on the host city, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the Asaba 2018 CAA African Senior Athletics Championships reached out to interested sponsors.

Olukayode Thomas, Head Media, and Publicity, of the LOC Asaba 2018 CAA African Senior Athletics Championships, revealed that the deal was brokered by Nilayo Sports Management Limited, the championships’ Official Consultant and Marketer.

The 2018 edition of CAA African Athletics Championships will serve as trials for the highly competitive and lucrative 2018 IAAF World Cup in Athletics modafinil .

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