There were several key derbies across Africa at the weekend, but all were overshadowed by a hat-trick performance from 39-year-old Brazilian legend Rivaldo, now playing in Angola’s GiraBola.
South Africa Premier League: Sundowns maintain
A thrilling five-goal derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs kept South Africa spellbound at the weekend, but leaders Mamelodi Sundowns sent out a strong message of intent as they won 3-0 away at Ajax Cape Town. It means they are four points clear at the top ahead of defending champions Orlando, who moved second after winning 3-2 in the Soweto derby.
Big game: Benni McCarthy's first appearance in the derby was a fairytale for the 34-year-old former international striker, back home after more than a decade playing in Europe. He got two first half goals in between an effort from team-mate Andile Jali as the Buccaneers jumped into a 3-0 lead inside the first half hour. Chiefs were one goal back through Siphiwe Tshabalala by half-time, and Lehlohonolo Majoro’s goal in the 70th minute made for a thrilling finale at Soccer City.
Headline-grabbers: Katlego Mphela has been the leading goal scorer in the Premier League over the last two seasons, and he is top of the charts again with ten games to go after he broke a seven-game drought to score the last of the three goals for Sundowns in their win in Cape Town. Mphela’s form has been somewhat erratic this season, but coach Johan Neeskens said he was pleased for the Bafana Bafana striker now that the pressure was now off again.
Kenya Premier League: Leopards draw but still lead
AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia played a feisty scoreless draw at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi’s city centre, which proved a disappointing outcome after a week of build-up before the derby game. It meant Leopards stayed top of the standings as they kept up their unbeaten run. Gor still have just one win in their first five games and are just above the relegation zone.
Big game: Play had to be stopped for 15 minutes midway through the second half, as much out of boredom as frustration as Gor and Leopards played out a dire encounter. The referee averted the potential of more trouble by not calling off the game, played in front of a capacity crowd, but instead he got the players to pick up the pebbles and stones that had been thrown on the pitch in protest so the action could continue.
Headline-grabbers: Abdalla Juma scored the winner with just over 15 minutes left as Sofapaka came from behind to beat Western Stima 2-1 in Bukhungu. Wesley Kemboi had opened the scoring for the hosts inside the opening 10 minutes, but in the second half John Wamaiwa equalised. Sofapaka, the 2009 champions, went on to win their fourth game in six and are just behind Leopards on goal difference.
Morocco Botola: Rabat derby ends goalless
FUS Rabat remain top of the standings in search of their first-ever championship, but they played out a goalless draw in the capital derby with FAR Rabat. A home draw for MA Tetouan and defeat away for defending champions Raja Casablanca means FUS Rabat still have a two-point lead with nine games left in the season.
Big game: It was another derby without too many chances as both FUS and FAR looked defensive in their attitude. The army team did look a touch more adventurous in the first half but met with tough resistance from a defence marshalled by Abdelfattah Boukhriss, recently capped by Morocco, in the absence of the suspended captain Mohamed Benchrifa.
Headline-grabbers: Kamal El Wassil and Abderrazak Hamdallah got the goals for Olympique Safi as they upset Raja and left their hopes of a successful defence of their title hanging on tenuously. Raja’s third defeat of the season leaves them five points off the leaders and puts pressure on French coach Bertrand Marchand, who was tasked with delivering an 11th title, one less than the record held by FAR Rabat and Wydad Casablanca.
Angola GiraBola: Rivaldo revives glory days
Just one month short of his 40th birthday, former FIFA World Player of the Year Rivaldo scored a hat-trick for Kabuscorp as last seasons’ runners-up won their first game of the new campaign. The Brazilian FIFA World Cup™-winner was playing only his second match for his new club but scored all their goals in a 3-1 home win over Recreativo Caala. Four clubs share the lead after the first three rounds of the season.
Big game: Petro Atletico’s derby with Benfica Luanda ended in a 3-2 win with Kembua ensuring an early lead that Petro doubled through Job after only 15 minutes. But inside ten more minutes Pedro had scored twice for Benfica to equalise. The winner for Petro came just after the break from Osorio and means Petro join defending champions Recreativo Libolo, Sagrada Esperanca and newcomers Onze Bravos on seven points in a four-way tie at the top.
Headline-grabbers: Rivaldo turned on the style and left fans salivating as they were given a glimpse into his glory days. His hat-trick marked Kabuscorp's first win and a successful move to the capital’s Estadio Cidadela, where they are going to be based this season. Rivaldo opened the scoring in the 37th minute, struck home again just after the hour mark and finished it off the scoring soon after at the end a fine dribbling effort.
Mozambique’s new season started with a draw at home for Liga Muculmana, seeking to win the MocamBola for the third successive year.
Enugu Rangers beat Ocean Boys 4-0 and are at the top of the Nigerian Premier League.
African champions Esperance are two points behind leaders CA Bizertin in Tunisia’s Ligue 1 after beating Hammam-Lif 2-0 away.