Familiar faces crowned in Africa
The league season came to an end in Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt and Tunisia with two champions decided on Sunday. Coton Sport were again crowned in Cameroon and Esperance have made it three in a row in Tunisia. In Algeria and Egypt, the champions had already been decided and were playing for pride only.
Tunisia Ligue 1: Esperance triumph on final day
A season halted because of a revolution that toppled the north African country’s government finally finished at the weekend, more than a month behind schedule. But while it might have been a campaign with a difference, it had a familiar look about it as Esperance won a third successive title and extended to 23 their record number of Tunisian championships.
Big game: With a two-point gap at the top between Esperance and rivals Etoile Sahel going into the final set of fixtures, the leaders were anxious to make sure of a home win against CS Hammam Lif. Even though it was played behind closed doors, and Esperance went behind in the 12th minute, they settled the game by half-time as they took a 3-1 lead with two goals from Mali import Dramane Traore and the other from Youssef Msakni. It stayed that way until the final whistle, allowing for a second half of celebration.
Headline-grabbers: Chedi Hammami led a goal feast for CS Sfaxien as they blew away the remote chance Etoile Sahel had of wrestling the title away on the final day of the season. Etoile were handed a 4-1 hiding that saw them end up five points behind Esperance but still 15 ahead of Sfaxien, who ended third.
Cameroon Elite One: Coton Sport yet again
Coton Sport won their eighth championship success in the last nine years by beating Unisport Bafang on the penultimate day of the season. Coton Sport had to come from a goal behind to keep up their near 100 per cent record at home. Even without the victory, they would still have been crowned champions as Astres Douala, the only side who could still catch them, lost 1-0 at Tiko United.
Big game: Unisport Bafang were without their coach Alexandre Belinga, who was coaching Cameroon’s U-23 side in an All-Africa Games qualifier, but they took the lead at Coton Sport through Ngando Mbida. Coton Sport equalised after half-time and then had two penalties awarded to them after that, scoring one for a 2-1 win, but missing the other. Coton Sport are still chasing the league and cup double, and next weekend they kick off their CAF Champions League group stage campaign.
Headline-grabbers: With two sides already relegated several weeks ago, the last ticket back down to Elite Two was settled when Renaissance de Ngoumou lost 2-1 to Sable Batie. Renaissance had high hopes of staying up after a run of five matches without defeat but saw any chance they had of catching Scorpion de Bey slip with the home loss. Scorpion stay up after their first season in the top flight.
Egypt League: Al Ahly’s stilted celebrations
A home draw with Misr Elmaqash was not the celebratory finish to the season that Al Ahly had planned. But after clinching the title earlier in the week they could afford a low-key final encounter, and ended the season five points clear of arch rivals Zamalek.
Big game: Veteran Ahmed Hassan played his final game for Ahly as coach Manuel Jose fielded a completely different side to the one that clinched the league on Thursday. Several debutants also featured in a game in which Hassan, Egypt’s record holder of international caps and frequent CAF Africa Cup of Nations hero, scored the opener. But again Ahly had to scramble late to equalise as Mohamed Aboutrika made it 2-2 with an 88th-minute penalty.
Headline-grabbers: The second division in Egypt still has three weeks to completion, but Dakhlia have already secured promotion as their 1-0 win over Egypt Telecom ensured they top the standings in the Cairo division. Top place must still be settled in the Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt sections to decide who will replace Al Ittihad, Smouha and Arab Contractors, who were all relegated.
Algeria Premier Division: Final places settled
ASO Chlef ended the season in defeat but had several weeks ago garnered their first title and have been in joyous celebration since. But the race for second place and a berth in next year’s Champions League has kept up interest in the championship. JSM Bejaia’s 3-0 win over CA Bordj Bou Arreridj ensured the runners-up berth, as they finished ahead of Entente Setif, who claimed third as they beat CR Belouizdad 2-0.
Big game: It took 30 minutes for Bejaia to settle their nerves and secure the win they needed for Champions League action. Amine Megateli, Mohammed Meftah and Ahmed Gasmi’s goals mean Bejaia will play in the continent’s top club competition for the first time, having competed in the Confederation Cup in 2008 and 2009.
Headline-grabbers: The future of veteran coach Meziane Ighil at champions ASO Chlef has been the raging subject for the headline writers in recent days. This weekend he suggested he might stay in the job and guide the club into the Champions League. A former Algerian national team coach, Ighil is due to meet ASO Chlef’s leadership in the next days to discuss his future.
There was good news for the chasing pack as the top two sides in Nigeria – Sunshine Stars and Dolphin – both lost at the weekend.
Athletico Olympic extended to 11 points their lead in Burundi’s Ligue A after beating Prince Louis at the weekend.
Mozambique international defender Dario Khan scored from long range as Liga Muculmana beat Chingale 1-0 to take a two-point lead in the Mocambola standings.