The title race in both Angola and Mozambique is drawing to a dramatic close but still the champions must be decided. Recreativo Libolo took a giant stride to the Angolan crown at the weekend, but Liga Muculmana wasted a chance to crown themselves in Mozambique. SuperSport United are the early leaders in South Africa while the new season is now underway in Ghana.
South Africa Premier League: Super squad for ex champs
SuperSport United dominated the league from 2008 to 2010, winning a record-equaling three successive titles, however, last season they went off the boil and barely finished in the top eight. Coach Gavin Hunt strengthened his side in the off season and, away from the spotlight, assembled a formidable squad, which has gone on to open up a two-point lead at the top of the standings with eight rounds of the new season.
Big game: SuperSport United and Maritzburg United were the only two sides left with an unbeaten record going into their match up in Pretoria, with Maritzburg’s Ian Palmer having just been named coach of the month for his club’s unexpectedly good start to the season. But their bubble was burst as SuperSport scored a 7-0 win with two goals each for wingers Tebogo Langerman and Jabu Maluleke.
Headline-grabbers: This time last season Moroka Swallows’ status as one of the longest serving clubs in the top flight of South Africa was under threat with just one point to their name. They launched a revival to avoid relegation but the have not rested on their laurels. A 3-1 away win over Bidvest Wits ensured they moved into a tie for second, with the relegation woes now but a distant memory.
Angola Girabola: Front two edge further ahead
The province of Kwanza Sul and the streets of Calulo were alive with weekend festivity as Recreativo Libolo beat second-placed Kabuscorp in the match sure to decide the outcome of the championship. As a result the provincial side effectively need two points from their last two matches to ensure a first-ever title. They extended their lead over Kabuscorp to four points after 28 games and at the same time ended any hopes that third placed Petro Atletico had of defending their title.
Big game: Libolo led just before half-time though Rasca, but the real drama came in a flurry of goals near the end with Rasca scoring again, before Lami pulled one back for Kabuscorp and Quinzinho finished off the job by levelling, putting the hosts tantalisingly close to the title.
Headline-grabbers: Coach Zeca Amaral was fired towards the end of last year as Angola national coach but has bounced back to come within touching distance of taking the title with Libolo. He has kept his counsel in recent weeks, staying away from interviews as he plots the final stages of the bid for glory.
Mozambique Mocambola: Celebrations delayed
Liga Muculmana had a chance to secure a successful defence of their title at the weekend if they won on their trip to the northern Tete province and closest rivals Maxaquene lost. But the formbook was turned around with Liga losing for just the third time this season and Maxaquene winning. The gap remains eight points between first and second with four rounds left to play.
Big game: Liga Muculmana were hoping all the permutations would go their way and they could again celebrate, but HCB Songo’s Fabrice proved the party spoiler after just 15 minutes. Victor scored the second goal right at the end of the game, in which the league leaders looked weary, perhaps from the burden of expectation.
Headline-grabbers: Airline club Maxaquene were 2-0 up through goals from Betinho and Liberty in the first 27 minutes away at Atletico Muculmana and kept alive hopes of catching up in the title race. But they will need a few more favours from other teams to stop Liga Muculmana from adding to their inaugural championship won last year.
Ghana Premier League: Back to normal
Champions Berekum Chelsea came from behind to win with a late goal at the weekend and mark themselves out as again one of the sides to beat in the early going. The second round of the new season sees Edubiase FC, Hearts of Oak and Wa All Stars as the only sides with a 100 per cent record. Berekum Chelsea have four points, alongside perennial favourite Asante Kotoko.
Big game: Substitute Yaw Alexander got the injury-time winner for Chelsea at home to Liberty Professionals. They had fallen behind after 37 minutes when Liberty’s Fuseini Zuberu scored but equalised soon after through captain Abdul Basit’s penalty. The match looked headed for a draw, but Alexander’s last-minute tap-in claimed all three points.
Headline-grabbers: Asante Kotoko scored the biggest win of the weekend with a 3-0 triumph over AshantiGold in Kumasi. The Porcupine Warriors looked comfortable in easing to their first win of the season with goals from Michael Akufo and Nathaniel Asamoah in the first half and Michael Anaba after the interval.
USM Alger disposed CR Belouizdad at the top of Algeria’s Ligue 1 after beating them 2-0 at the weekend.
Midweek winners Tusker FC watched at the weekend as their closest rivals in the Kenya Premier League all stumbled in their bid to catch up.
Côte d’Ivoire’s Ligue 1 is now in the second stage with a six team super division. Champions ASEC Abidjan lost to Stella in a shock start at the weekend.