Kaizer Chiefs are early leaders in South Africa after winning the fabled Soweto derby at the weekend as their status as the country’s glamour club was embellished by victory over Orlando Pirates. Other well supported teams like Dynamos in Zimbabwe and USM Alger were also successful at the weekend but Tanzania’s Young Africans, who have a similarly popular profile, were beaten again in defence of their title.
South Africa Premier League: Derby delight
There was double delight for Kaizer Chiefs at the weekend as they beat arch-rivals and defending champions Orlando Pirates and took over as early season leaders. Chiefs have 12 points from their first five games, one more than SuperSport United, who won three successive titles from 2008 to 2010. Mamelodi Sundowns lost their unbeaten record with a surprise 3-2 home defeat to Ajax Cape Town to slip back into joint third place.
Big game: There were just over 60,000 supporters at Soccer City for the derby a week after some 90,000 had watched the two clubs clash in the Top Eight Cup final. Derbies on successive weekends seem to have taken the edge off the latest clash, but Chiefs bounced back from cup defeat to win 2-1. The first goal came from Bernard Parker’s pin-point free kick and Siphiwe Tshabalala contributed the second against a sluggish Buccaneers.
Headline-grabbers: Ajax Cape Town’s new coach Maarten Stekelenburg told his young charges to enjoy their football, keep possession and attack, irrespective of their reputation. His players forgot those instructions in the first half at big spending Sundowns but bounced back after the break to snatch a dramatic 3-2 with Zimbabwe international Khama Billiat scoring a stoppage time winner.
Algeria Premier Divison: USMA on top
USM Alger won a second match of the new season to go top of the Ligue 1 as two matches were postponed because of continental competition at the weekend. Champions ASO Chlef, who won their first-ever title just months ago, got their first points of the new campaign after losing in the opening round. Their 3-1 win over CS Constantine continued their winning streak at home, which stretches back to May of 2010.
Big game: Former Angola and Zambia national coach Herve Renard has got USMA off to a positive start, and he watched with satisfaction as Hamia Boualem scored early away at USM El Harrach for their latest win. The 1-0 triumph in one of many capital city derbies adds to the home win over CA Batna last week. “The most important thing was to put the points in the pocket,” said Renard.
Headline-grabbers: Chlef’s Mohamed Seguer completed his hat-trick in 55 minutes as the champions put behind them the disappointment of losing on the opening day of the season. The 26-year-old is making an early bid to impress new national team coach Vahid Halilhodzic ahead of the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ preliminaries. Seguer won his only two caps for Algeria back in 2008.
Zimbabwe Premier League: Dynamos catching up
Harare glamour club Dynamos are on the march and have now moved to within one point of the joint leaders after beating Zimbabwe Saints. DeMbare have steadily been gaining ground on defending champions Motor Action and surprise package FC Platinum who had initially threatened to turn the championship into a two-club race but have been losing momentum in recent weeks. The front pair were again held to draws, allowing Dynamos to effectively catch up to them with seven rounds of the season remaining.
Big game: Dynamos turned on the style at home and might have won more handsomely than the final 4-0 score line had it not been for Saints goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya and some poor finishing by the home strikers. But not that it mattered much as Cuthbert Malajila scored just before the break and then Archieford Gutu, Martin Vengesayi and Roderick Mutuma added more second half goals.
Headline-grabbers: Pride Tafirenyika got the late equaliser for CAPS United to ensure a 1-1 draw with co-leaders FC Platinum, who have not won in their last five matches and appear to be suffering stage fright as a first-ever title beckons. Motor Action had to fight back to draw with Chicken Inn and have substitute Tawanda Nyamandwe to thank for a potentially vital strike.
Tanzania Premier League: Crisis for champs
Champions Young Africans continued their crisis of confidence at the start of the new season, going down 1-0 to Azam FC. It has allowed their long standing rivals Simba SC a three point lead at the top of the table after six rounds. Simba have 14 points out of a possible 18, while Yanga are in eighth place with just one win.
Big game: John Bosco was the scorer as Azam FC beat Young Africans at Dar-es-Salaam’s National Stadium with a 20th-minute strike, albeit against the run of play. Yanga’s bevy of Ghanaian and Zambian imports were unable to tune around their side’s fortunes and left the cavernous venue empty handed.
Headline-grabbers: A missed penalty by Zambia international Felix Sunzu cost Simba their fifth win in six games as they were held 1-1 by Kagera Sugar in Bukoba. Rwanda international Patrick Mafisango had Simba ahead midway through the first half before Sunzu faltered. The home side then got their own spot kick, successfully converted by Hussein Swedi in the closing stages, the first goal that Simba have conceded this season.
Sudan’s Al Merreikh have made it 19 wins out of 20 in the league to go 12 points ahead of arch rivals Al Hilal, who have two matches in hand.
Recreativo Libolo still lead Angola’s Girabola by one point over Kabuscorp with five rounds to play.
APR FC began defence of their Rwanda title with a 1-0 win over Espoir on the first weekend of the new league season.