Slow start for Kotoko as Pirates raid
© AFP

There was an embarrassing start to the new Ghana season for Asante Kotoko, one of the giants of the African game, while Raja Casablanca are off to a perfect start in Morocco and JSM Bejaia are unbeaten at the top in neighbouring Algeria.

South Africa Premier League: Fairytale start at an end
Champions Orlando Pirates ended the unbeaten start to the new season of fairytale debutantes Pretoria University, but it is Kaizer Chiefs who still enjoy a healthy lead. Pirates moved second above the new boys after a 3-1 away win but are still four points behind their arch rivals, who were held to a goalless draw in Port Elizabeth by Bloemfontein Celtic. Big spending Mamelodi Sundowns lost again and are second from bottom as their crisis continues.

Big game: Pretoria University had started their first six games with three home draws and three away wins. But the bizarre run was ended at Loftus Versfeld as Pirates came from behind to beat them 3-1. AmaTuks took the lead with a long clearance from defence and one touch over the goalkeeper from Bongani Zungu but Pirated replied with a penalty from Andile Jali, sandwiched between two goals from Zambia international Collins Mbesuma.
Headline-grabbers: Former Dutch star Johan Neeskens continues to insist he is able to turn things around at Sundowns, the Pretoria club whose billionaire owner has pumped millions into buying players but who have not won the championship since 2007. Neeskens has overseen a run of five defeats in their last six league games plunging the club into the relegation zone for the first time in two decades.

Morocco Botola: Raja keep up perfect record
Away success for Raja Casablanca at Wydad Fes ensured they kept up their 100 per-cent start to the new season and established a two point lead over FAR Rabat, who were one of three sides to win away at the weekend. Another was Olympique Safi who have moved up to fourth in the standings after success at KAC Kenitra, and the third is Hassania Agadir, who drew away at newly promoted Raja Beni Mellal.

Big game: Raja were on the offensive almost from the start despite being away but it was not until the half-hour mark that they scored through Abdelilah El Hafidi. Hamza Abourazouk netted the second in the 69th minute to make safe the points and move to a full haul of 12. The closest the hosts came was when Youssef Anouar hit the woodwork in the first half.
Headline-grabbers: New Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi was in the crowd to see Salahedien Aqal of FAR scored his fourth goal in as many games this season to see the soldiers on their way to a 2-1 win over DH El Jadidi. Younis Belakhdar got a second, but there were anxious moments near the end as Zakaria Hadraf pulled one back to set up a nervy finish with the referee adding on eight additional minutes.

Algeria Ligue 1: Two left unbeaten
JSM Bejaia are one of only two teams still unbeaten after five rounds of the new season, but they dropped their first home points of the season in a 1-1 draw with Mouloudia Alger. The other side yet to suffer defeat is third place CS Constantine, who won away at USM Bel Abbes. In second place, one point behind the leaders and one above CS Constantine, is USM El Harrach, who won 2-0 over CA Batna.

Big game: Champions Entente Setif suffered a first setback of the new season with a defeat at newly promoted JS Saoura, who are playing in the top flight for the first time. The club have moved up two divisions in as many years and the goal from Kamel Oughliss just after the hour mark must rank as one of their all-time highlights as they won at their home ground in Bechar.
Headline-grabbers: Former Algeria international Djamel Menad, who played at the 1986 FIFA World Cup™, continued his positive start with Mouloudia Alger, drawing away at the league leaders. But he saw his side miss a first half penalty before, then concede a spot kick to go behind before Moustapha Djallit scored his fifth goal of the season to equalise five minutes from the end.

Ghana Premier League: Shock start for the champs
Just a week before Ghana’s Black Stars seek to secure qualification to the CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals, the new league season got underway with a shock setback for champions Asante Kotoko, held by newly promoted Amidaus Professionals.

Big game: Asante Kotoko were runaway winners of the last championship but their expected continuation of that trend was quickly dissipated on the opening day of the new season at the Baba Yara Stadium. Instead there was a sense of embarrassment at being held goalless by new boys Amidaus Professionals in a pulsating game. Kotoko dominated the first half but as their opponents gained in confidence so they ended stronger.
Headline-grabbers: Berekum Chelsea have had no break in the off-season with their participation in the CAF Champions League and their head start showed as they won 2-0 at home against Heart of Lions. Abdul Basit missed a first half penalty, but Salifu Latif and Abdul Wahab scored after the break to give Chelsea top place after the first round of competition.

Elsewhere

With five rounds of the season left, Zanaco have opened up a six point lead at the top of the standings in Zambia. Union Douala’s 12-match unbeaten run came to an end of the last day of the season in Cameroon with defeat at home to Panthere Nde. Egypt are to start their new league season on Wednesday, 17 October.