Three clubs remain in the race in South Africa, but leaders Ajax Cape Town suffered their heaviest defeat of the season in their second last match of the campaign. The race for the CAF Champions League places kept some of the continent’s top teams out of league action, but in Tunisia and Algeria it allowed for some movement in the standings. In Zambia, it is newly promoted Nakambala Leopards who lead the early part of the title race, while the league has been settled in neighbouring Botswana
South Africa Premiership: Champions-elect humbled
Ajax Cape Town need only win their final match of the league campaign on 21 May to win a first-ever championship, but they will need to get over a thumping in the weekend’s penultimate round. Ajax, who could have clinched the trophy, were beaten 4-0 by Kaizer Chiefs at Polokwane’s FIFA World Cup stadium. Ajax still lead Orlando Pirates by two points and Chiefs by three, going into the last match day.
Big game: An away win for Ajax and failure by Pirates and Sundowns to win would have been enough for the Cape club to take the league. The trophy and presentation party were in place but were packed away by half-time as Chiefs stormed to a 3-0 lead. Siphiwe Tshabalala scored twice while the rout was started by Zimbabwe international Knowledge Musona, whose 14th goal of the season has him top of the league’s scoring charts.
Headline-grabbers: Striker Bongani Ndulula grabbed four goals for South Africa’s under-23 side in a recent All-Africa Games qualifier and his first-ever league goal for Pirates, in stoppage time against Santos, kept alive his club’s title hopes. Pirates looked to be out of contention in the title race before Ndulula’s clever back flick caught out the opposing goalkeeper two minutes into time added on to finish the game 1-1.
Tunisia Ligue 1: New leader of the pack
Etoile Sahel took advantage of Esperance’s trip to Senegal in the CAF Champions League to go top. Sahel’s routine win over AS Gabes takes them to 37 points, one more than Esperance, who will play their catch-up game against Olympique Beja on Thursday.
Big game: Ahmed Akaichi scored twice with team-mate Lassaad Jaziri knocking in one in between as Etoile Sahel seemed to be back to form after the horror defeat to CS Hammam-Lif last month when the league resumed after its lengthy hiatus. The game was played behind closed doors, as were all three other weekend games in Ligue 1.
Headline-grabbers: Former international Maher Kanzari, who had just three games in charge of Esperance last season, got his first win in his new job at CA Bizertin with a 2-0 triumph over ES Hammam-Sousse.
Zambia Super Division: Change again
The leadership changed hands as Nakambala Leopards returned to the summit, winning 1-0 away over promoted Lime Hotspurs, while Red Arrows lost. The Mazabuka-based club have a two point lead with 16 in total in the early stages of the season. Arrows were beaten 2-0 at Forest Rangers
Big game: Two former champions met in front of a boisterous crowd in the capital with visitors Nkana forcing a 1-1 draw at Zanaco in Lusaka. Zanaco scored first through Ignatius Lwipa in the 17th minute but equalised just after the restart in the 48th minute. Moses Phiri had a good chance to win it for the home team with 20 minutes left but hit the crossbar with the goal at his mercy. The result kept Zanaco fourth but Nkana slip into the relegation zone.
Headline-grabbers: Simon Bwalya scored twice as Power Dynamos, the only Zambian side to ever win a continental title, returned to winning ways with a 4-1 pasting of army club Green Buffaloes. The international winger’s brace came just days before national coach Dario Bonetti was to finalise his squad for the next CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mozambique.
Algeria Premier Division: Rest at the top
Three clubs were off competing in continental club competition at the weekend, and the fixtures did not include the top two contenders: ASO Chlef and ES Setif. That allowed USM El Harrah the chance to go third, albeit still some distance off the top. A 1-0 win over WA Tlemcen means they are now 10 points behind the leaders but have played two games more.
Big game: CR Belouizdad came from conceding a goal after only two minutes to pull off a surprise 2-1 win at MC Oran, catapulting over their hosts in the standings. Oran were third before the weekend while Belouizdad were fifth but an 85th-minute winner ensured Belouizdad moved to 32 points and fourth place, one ahead of MC Oran.
Headline-grabbers: AS Khroub won for only the second time this year to move out of the relegation zone with a 2-0 win over CA Bordj Bou Arreridj. The game was played behind closed doors, but the goals from Oussama Mesfar and Karim Nait Yahia, both in the space of three minutes, condemned the visitors to bottom spot in the standings.
Second placed Centre Chiefs were held to a 1-1 draw by Extension Gunners, handing the title in Botswana to Township Rollers without them having to kick a ball. Rollers celebrated with a 3-1 win over Nico United 24 hours later to move nine points clear with two rounds to play.
Fello Star Labe finished the first half of the season in Guinea with a 1-0 home win over Etoile du Guinea and a two point lead over Horoya.