Kaizer Chiefs have been the early frontrunners in South Africa, but a familiar face is now back on top with SuperSport United moving up at the weekend. The usual pretenders are trailing in Morocco, where a trio of outsiders have the early lead, and in both Angola and Kenya the title race is shaping up into a fantastic finish.
South Africa Premier League: SuperSport are back
SuperSport United are back at the top of the standings after a 2-0 home win over Platinum Stars at the weekend. The club, who won three championships in a row from 2008 to 2010, faded badly last season, but a series of high profile re-enforcements have them back at the helm again. SuperSport took advantage of draws for the country’s big three: Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and defending champions Orlando Pirates
Big game: There was plenty of pacey play, crunching tackles and half chances, but in the end one of the season’s keenly anticipated encounters finished without goals. Champions Pirates were held to a 0-0 draw by Sundowns, both of whom have fallen back off the pace. Benni McCarthy was back for Pirates after a hamstring injury, but he had few chances to add to his two goals scored already in the early stages of the season.
Headline-grabbers: Siyabonga Nomvete is in the twilight of his career after a spell in Serie A and two FIFA World Cup™ finals with Bafana Bafana, but he is still proving a talismanic influence with Moroka Swallows. This time last year Swallows were rock bottom of the standings, but after two goals from Nomvete against Jomo Cosmos at the weekend the club are now just two points off the lead.
Morocco Botola: Champions get new coach, vital away point
Champions Raja Casablanca are still to win their first match of the new season but will be pleased with a point at FAR Rabat after a tumultuous few weeks for the club. MAS Fez scored a 5-1 win over OC Safi to take over at the top on goals scored from newly promoted CR Al Hoceima and on goal difference from DH El Jadida. The trio have seven points with Wydad Casablanca fourth on six after beating FUS Rabat 2-0.
Big game: MAS Fez were a goal down after just seven minutes at home to OC Safi, but they bounced back in fine fashion to win. But their one-sided score was bettered by CR Al Hoceima, who are in only their second season in the Botola. They beat HUS Agadir 5-0 in their match. Last season not a single side managed five goals in a game in the Moroccan league.
Raja’s disappointing performance in the group stage of the CAF Champions League has led to the axing after just eight weeks of Romanian coach Ilie Balaci, and his successor Bertrand Marchand was named just 24 hours before the trip to Rabat, where Raja held on for a goalless draw with the military team.
Angola Girabola: New champions on the horizon
A new champion for Angola’s Girabola is looking increasingly likely as Recreativo Libolo and Kabuscorp continue their tussle for the title and a first-ever league crown. Libolo kept up their one point advantage with a 2-0 win over Santos FC while Kabuscorp won arguably their biggest success of the campaign with a 3-1 result over nine-time champions Primeiro Agosto. Defending champions Petro are still in with a chance after a 2-1 home win over Sagrada Esperanca.
Big game: Kabuscorp and Primeiro Agosto share the Coqueiros Stadium near Luanda’s picturesque promenade, but their weekend meeting was nominated the army club’s home game. Primeiro’s slim league chances ended with a 3-1 defeat as Kabuscorp scored through Sawu, Abel and Kalobo in a triumph that keeps them on course for a possible shock title win and certainly now a place in African club competition next season.
Headline-grabbers: Angola international Love took his season tally to 16 goals with a dramatic winner four minutes from the end of the game as Petro beat Sagrada to remain five points behind the leaders with four games to go. “It was important to get the win and the points, and it was because the players kept working right to the end,” said Petro’s coach Miroslav Maksimovic.
Kenya Premier League: Champs back in title race
Ulinzi Stars took advantage of a weekend off for Tusker FC and caught up to the leaders with a home win over Western Stima. Stars’ 2-1 victory takes them to 44 points, level with Tusker, although the brewery team have played one game less. Tusker had been held to a draw in midweek.
Big game: Two goals from Stephen Waruru ensured Ulinzi Stars’ attempt to win a second successive title is well on course. He got the first early in the game, although Western Stima were level at half-time through Allyoys Mangi. Waruru’s winner with a quarter-hour to go ensured a third successive win.
Headline-grabbers: Gor Mahia's run without a victory extended to five matches after they squandered a two-goal lead at home to Kenya Commercial Bank. The slump has left them out of the championship race and and now in sixth place, 12 points off the leaders. Job Endrisseh equalised for KCB with just 11 minutes left in the game.
USM Alger kept up a 100-per cent record in the Algerian Ligue 1 with a 2-0 win over AS Khroub. The new season is underway in Namibia with African Stars, Black Africa and Tigers all winning their opening two games. Kinshasa’s fabled derby between AS V Club and Daring Club Motema Pembe has been moved to Tuesday in DR Congo because of a pre-booked church service at the Stade des Martyrs.