Rivaldo debuts, Côte d’Ivoire kicks off
© AFP

The new season kicked off in both Angola, with Rivaldo making his debut for Kabuscorp,  and Côte d’Ivoire, but in Morocco the action is moving now to a crucial phase with leaders FUS Rabat under pressure from the chasing pack.

Morocco Botola: Tight at the top
After drawing in their last encounter, FUS Rabat had their lead at the top of the Botola cut as they awaited Monday’s home fixture to KAC Kenitra. MA Tetouan have moved one point behind after beating Wydad Casablanca to go to 37 points, although they have played one match more. Defending champions Raja Casablanca have also played one more than Rabat, but they are now just three points back after beating struggling HUS Agadir as the league enters a critical stretch.

Big game: Tetouan’s title-chasing credentials received a major boost with the 2-0 home win over Wydad, which saw Abderrazak El Mnasfi score eight minutes before half time to grab the lead. An own-goal from former junior international defender Hicham El Amrani after the break doubled the lead in a setback for Wydad’s new Spanish coach Benito Floro.
Headline-grabbers: Two tallies in the second half ensured for Raja a tough win with the goals coming from Bouchaib Lembarki and Mohamed Achraf Salim as the champions extended to 20 matches their unbeaten home run. It stretches back to December of 2010 when they lost the derby at home to WAC. Yassine Salhi set up the first goal on the hour mark before substitute Salim scored an insurance strike in stoppage time.

Angola GiraBola: Rivaldo’s debut ends in defeat
Defending champions Recreativo Libolo missed the start of the new season as they overcame South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in the CAF Champions League, but there was a losing start for last season’s runners-up Kabuscorp, who were featuring the services of Brazilian FIFA World Cup™ winner Rivaldo. Also, Onze Bravos returned to the top flight with a 2-0 away win over Academica Soyo in the biggest win of the weekend, which also saw Atletico Namibe and Benfica Luanda pick up victories.

Big game: InterClube, champions two years ago, and Primeiro Agosto played out a 1-1 draw in the match between the police and army teams. Primeiro Agosto came back with a second half equaliser through Tchitchi, who had come on as an early substitute for the injured Capuco. The policemen had led at half-time through Alex’s goal.
Headline-grabbers: Some 10,000 spectators turned up at the inner city Estadio dos Coqueiros in Luanda for the debut of the 39-year-old former FIFA World Player of the Year Rivaldo, but Progresso Sambizanga proved party spoilers with a 1-0 win. The well-travelled former Barcelona star played the entire 90 minutes, but Chico grabbed the headlines with a goal in the 19th minute that delivered the three away points.

Côte d’Ivoire Ligue 1: Opening day success for ASEC
Champions Africa Sports have to wait to get their season underway, but their perennial rivals ASEC Abidjan have already got a win under their belt on the opening weekend. They travelled away to Yamoussoukro to beat SO Armee 2-1. Teams are again divided into two pools this season with the top three going on to an end-of-the-season play-off league.

Big game: Coach Sebastien Desabre watched with satisfaction as ASEC’s new Ghanaian recruit Iddi Ganyu got the first goal, scored with his head from a corner, against the soldiers after just 18 minutes. Former ASEC striker Brossou Kpehi equalised two minutes before half time taking advantage of some sloppy defence. Shortly after, ASEC captain Okou Zahui settled the scoring from the spot after Ganyu was brought down.
Headline-grabbers: Stella Abidjan were at home at the Stade Robert Champroux where they grabbed a winning start in Group A against Issia Wazi 2-1. Stella, perhaps unfairly, are regarded as Abidjan’s third club were the last team to win the championship outside of the all conquering duo of ASEC and Africa Sports, who between them have won the last 27 national championships. Stella’s last success in 1984 seems an age ago now.

Kenya Premier League: Leopards leap into lead
AFC Leopards won 2-0 away at Ulinzi Stars to go to the top of the standings after the first four games of the season. Leopards have won three and drawn one in an unbeaten start, and they are two points ahead of Chemelil Sugar. Champions Tusker have played only twice because of their ultimately unsuccessful participation in the first round of this year’s CAF Champions League.

Big game: Gor Mahia extended to three games their winless start to the season as they went down by a single goal to Karuturi Sport, a loss that cost Cameroonian coach Anaba Awono his job. Bobby Ogolla will take over for the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup first-round tie against Ferroviario Maputo of Mozambique this weekend. Gor trail by three goals after the first leg.
Headline-grabbers: Allan Wanga’s scoring boots have been grabbing the spotlight over the last days, and he was again in the mix as set-pieces proved crucial for Leopards in their win at the Afraha Stadium. First, a Jonas Nahimana penalty set them on their way before a blistering free-kick from Allan Wanga added the second. Wanga had scored in midweek for Kenya in their CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Togo.

Elsewhere
CA Bizertin have a four-point lead over AS Marsa in Tunisia’s Ligue 1, but African champions Esperance have moved to within seven points of the leaders with two games in hand. Enugu Rangers kept the lead in Nigeria after beating Lobi Stars 1-0 at home on Sunday. ES Setif’s 2-0 win over AS Khroub sees them three points clear in the Algerian Ligue 1.