Monday, August 6, 2007

Confederations Cup Round-up

The African Champions League took place this week but we're going to focus instead on the 'little brother' of African continental competitions, the Confederations Cup.

Here's a quick re-cap of this weekend's African Confederations Cup action, thanks to our friends at the BBC.

A Nigerian club coach had to be rescued by police and another quit on a disastrous weekend for the country in the Confederation Cup.

Police smuggled Kwara United coach Kafaru Alabi away from the Township Stadium in the central town of Ilorin as supporters vented their anger at a 1-1 Group B draw with Ismailia of Egypt.

Dolphin were humiliated 6-1 in the same pool away to Al-Merreikh of Sudan, prompting coach Ifeanyi Onyedika to resign while travelling to the team hotel in Khartoum.

CS Sfaxien of Tunisia appear the team to beat in Group A after whipping Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa 4-0 with Ivorian striker Blaise Kouassi scoring twice.

And the deadliest finisher in African club football, Mbuti Mapi from TP Mazembe of the DR Congo, raised his goal tally to 15 by scoring twice in a 2-1 home win over Astres Douala of Cameroon.

Merreikh lead Group B with four points followed by Dolphin (three), Ismailia (two) and Kwara (one) while it is even closer in Group A with Sfaxien (four) just ahead of Mazembe and Sundowns (three each) and Astres have one.

Group winners after the six-round mini-leagues advance to the final and early form suggests Merreikh and Sfaxien could contest the US$300,000 first prize over two legs in November.

Edward Weng gave Kwara a first-half lead only for Mohamed Fadl to level 15 minutes from full-time and although the visitors lacked sacked French coach Patrice Neveu they came close to securing maximum points in a frenetic finish.

When the final whistle sounded police raced to protect Alabi and took him away in a heavily guarded truck as Ilorin once again witnessed the ugly side of African football.

Kwara defeated Mouloudia Alger of Algeria and Union Douala of Cameroon in ill-tempered qualifiers at the Township Stadium with match officials attacked by visiting players.

Former Dolphin stars Endurance Idahor and Efosa Eguakun sparkled as a multi-national Merreikh team guided by Togo 2006 World Cup coach Otto Pfister ran riot in the second half to score three times within five minutes.

After cutting the deficit to 2-1 via a Victor Ezeji header two minutes after half-time, Dolphin had leading scorer Bola Bello sent off for elbowing an opponent.

Merreikh captain and Sudan international Faisal Ajab led the goal charge with two and Mujahid Mohamed, Musa al-Tayeb, Idahor and Mohamed Ali were also on target.

Sundowns did not know what hit them in the Mediterranean city of Sfax with Kouassi scoring after 90 seconds and Blaise Mbele from the DR of Congo adding a second in the eighth minute.

Kouassi took advantage of slack marking to head a third Sfaxien goal with 29 minutes gone and second-half pressure Sundowns was thwarted by goalkeeper Lotfi Saidi before Naby Soumah added the fourth in stoppage time.

Mabi gave Mazembe a first-minute lead in Kinshasa, Amia Ekanga levelled midway thorugh the first half and the prolific Congolese scorer hit the 61st-minute winner.

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