Neck and neck in Algeria, Ghana
© AFP

Hearts of Oak joined Asante Kotoko at the top of the Ghanaian Premier League, while Centre Chiefs are looking strong in Botswana as they hold an eight-point lead. A battle of two former African champions ended even in Morocco, while ES Setif moved first in Algeria.

Ghana Premier League: Rivals even at the top
With table-topping Asante Kotoko and champions Berekum Chelsea having to play their game in midweek due to Kotoko's involvement in continental competition, it gave the chasing pack a chance to play catch-up, and Hearts of Oak and Edubiase FC, who beat Aduana Stars 2-1, made the most of their opportunity.

Big Game: After picking up just a point from their last two games, former African champions Hearts of Oak were in danger of slipping off the pace. Likewise in their match against Medeama FC, they fell behind midway through the first half from a penalty, but Mahatma Otoo levelled just a few minutes later. A controversial goal in the second half by Attakora Gyimah gave them the 2-1 win, and allowed the Phobians to join Kotoko at the top of the table on 21 points.
Headline-grabbers: In the 1990s, AshantiGold managed a hat-trick of league titles, but since then, they have not been as successful, and a dismal start to the season has seen them win just two of their opening 11 matches. This has led to pressure on coach Zdravko Logarusic, and the Croat was told he should not travel with the team on the weekend to their away game at Berekum Arsenal. Former Ghana international Kamara Dini was in charge as the team drew 1-1.

Botswana Premier League: Centre Chiefs stay strong
Centre Chiefs continue to march towards their second Premier League title. Defending champions Township Rollers, who are looking for their third championship in a row, are still chasing the form that last season saw them lose just two games and draw four en route to a 76-point total. A 2-2 draw at home to Ecco City Greens saw the Gaborone-based club remain 11 points behind Centre Chiefs.

Big game: Centre Chiefs faced a tough hurdle at Botswana Defence Force, who took a 1-0 lead into the break. Chiefs' Zimbabwean coach Madinda Ndlovu had his full contingent of Botswana internationals at his disposal, and it was Zebras midfielder Joel Mogorosi who found the equaliser in the second half. With less than half of the season remaining, Chiefs are looking strong with an eight point lead over Lobatse-based Botswana Meat Commission FC.
Headline-grabbers: TAFIC, who two weeks ago had only 13 players when they lost 2-1 against BMC and were then beaten 4-0 by Centre Chiefs in their next game, had a much stronger side this time around as they held Extension Gunners to a 2-2 draw. The side from Francistown is now in 10th place on 20 points.

Algeria Premier Division: ES Setif take over
USM Alger's 2-0 defeat at JSM Bejaia allowed ES Setif to move to the top of the table. Sitting behind the two leaders are Belouizdad, who missed out on an opportunity to go top themselves as they were held to a goalless draw at CS Constantine. With just four points separating the top eight clubs, the season is bound to go down to the wire.

Big game: Swiss coach Alain Geiger's Setif side were at home to struggling Saida, and the Black Eagles started like a house on fire as Mohamed Amine Aoudia, Mokhtar Megueni and Youcef Ghazali gave the home side a comfortable three-goal lead by the break. Now even with USM on 24 points but ahead on goal difference, Setif cruised through the second half despite Abdenour Hadiouche's consolation goal in injury-time.
Headline-grabbers: After 13 matches Hussein Dey are still looking for their first win. And although they have lost just once in their last four encounters, the three draws they have secured during that time still leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table. They have scored just once in those four matches and not surprisingly played to another goalless draw on the weekend, this time against two-time CAF Champions League winners JS Kabylie.

Morocco Botola: Hoceima maintain pressure
With leaders FUS Rabat in action on Monday against bottom-placed Olympic Safi, the challengers had an opportunity to inch closer. Chabab Rif Hoceima are second, while Moghreb Tetouan, who drew 0-0 at Hassania Agadir, are third. Three-time African champions Raja Casablanca are fourth after a 2-1 win over Khouribga.

Big game: In Rabat, two other former African champions clashed when Wydad Casablanca took on FAR Rabat, and the match ended 2-2. Former Wydad player Mourad Fellah opened the scoring for the visitors, but Lys Mouithys equalised from the spot after Zakaria Amzil fouled Mourad El Msane. El Msane then gave Wydad the lead in the second half, but Mohamed Amine Qabli leveled matters late in the game.
Headline-grabbers: Chabab Rif Hoceima are only in their second season in Morocco's top flight, but they are proving FUS Rabat's closest rivals this season. After their 1-0 win against JSM Laayoune on the weekend the team from Al Hoceima are on 18 points - five behind the leaders.

Elsewhere
Black Africa continue to control the Namibia Premier League after a 2-0 victory against Civics, while second-placed SK Windhoek slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Mighty Gunners.

Goals by Thulasizwe Mbuyane, Daine Klate and Isaac Chansa gave Orlando Pirates their first Telkom Cup in South Africa as they defeated Wits University 3-1 in the final.

Eliminated from the FIFA Club World Cup, Esperance return to Tunisia 12 points off the pace set by Bizertin, albeit with three matches in hand after their Japanese adventure.