Noses in front for old favourites
Some of African club football’s venerable old names are back to the fore in domestic action as early season leaders in Egypt are Africa’s most successful club Al Ahly, closely followed by perennial rivals Zamalek. In Ghana, it is former continental champions Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak who are at the helm. SuperSport United remain unbeaten in South Africa as they seek a fourth title in five seasons, and the race is Kenya is reaching fever pitch – with two clubs left in the race.
Egypt Premier League: Al Ahly edge in front
Seven-time champions on the trot, Al Ahly have moved to the top of the table, going one point clear of a host of teams after beating Al Ittihad 2-0 in Alexandria. Zamalek are in second ahead of Police Union after beating them 3-1 to already re-establish the traditional pecking order in Egyptian club football. Zamalek also have a game in hand and have sent out a clear warning about their attacking potential with 10 goals scored in their first three games.
Big game: Abdallah Saied scored his first goal for Al Ahly since his high profile pre-season move, taking just nine minutes to give his side the lead, and he might have had a second goal after the interval but he hit his free-kick against the crossbar. Emad Meteab made it 2-0 with some 20 minutes left to ensure the win and Ittihad’s first loss of the season.
Headline-grabbers: Egypt international midfielder Hosni Abd Rabou scored twice in the space of five minutes as Ismaily fought back from a goal down to win 2-1 at El Daklyeh. It is the second time already this season he has bagged a brace and his tally for the campaign is six in four games, two of them from the spot.
South African Premier League: Late goal keeps SuperSport ahead
SuperSport kept up their lead but only made sure of an away win at Bidvest Wits with a goal near the end of the game. Their advantage is two points in front of Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows, who both also posted victories. Swallows let a 3-0 lead slip to 3-2 against Ajax Cape Town, who squandered a chance from the penalty spot, while Chiefs beat Platinum Stars a week after losing to them in the first round of the League Cup.
Big game: Jomo Cosmos’ owner Jomo Sono was a hero for Orlando Pirates in his playing days and although his side are struggling these days, matches against Pirates are always an emotive affair. Without a win in the league, Cosmos were not given much chance, but they held Pirates until minutes into stoppage time when Tokelo Rantie scored a debut goal to give the champions a 2-1 win.
Headline-grabbers: Katlego Mphela’s form has not been to his coach’s liking and so Bafana Bafana’s lead striker had to start on the bench for Mamelodi Sundowns against second-from-bottom Black Leopards. But Mphela came on as a substitute and netted two goals in the comprehensive 5-1 win to regain top place in the goal scoring charts with seven from nine games this season.
Ghana Premier League: Big guns back on target
Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak, Ghana’s two most successful club sides, are back at the helm of the league with 10 points each from the opening four games of the season. Kotoko beat Heart of Lions 2-0 while Hearts of Oak won away at newly promoted Wassaman United. Champions Berekum Chelsea suffered a surprise home defeat and have fired their coach.
Big game: Two goals in the first 26 minutes set Asante Kotoko on their way to a comfortable win over Heart of Lions in Kumasi. First Ahmed Toure and then Nathaniel Asamoah scored. But Asamoah had to be hospitalised later after suffering concussion in a head-on-head collision with Lions’ goalkeeper Nana Bonsu. His club say his condition is stable.
Headline-grabbers: English coach Steve Pollack lasted just four games into the new season at Chelsea, who dismissed him after the 1-0 defeat at home to Medeama Sporting Club. Pollack replaced title winning coach Orlando Wellington before the beginning of the new campaign, but the headlines suggest Berekum are going to go back to the tried-and-tested tactician.
Kenya Premier League: To the wire?
Tusker kept their narrow lead at the helm of the standings with a 1-0 win over Western Stima. But defending champions Ulinzi Stars lurk ominously behind, two points in arrears but with one game in hand and five to play.
Big game: Tusker faced a tough test of their credentials as potential future champions at home to Western Stima at Nairobi’s City Stadium, but Dennis Mukaisi’s goal was enough to give them a valuable haul. It came on the hour mark as the ball was threaded through the midfield and then cracked on target.
Headline-grabbers: Ulinzi Stars’ 2-0 win over Congo United not only kept them firmly in the title race but also effectively condemned their opponents from Mombasa to a return to the second tier of Kenyan football. Bottom-placed Congo United will only stay up if they win each of their remaining three games and Nairobi City Stars fail in each of their last four matches.
Tunisia’s new league season will open on Friday with a decision to allow spectators to attend matches after many games were played behind closed doors last season. The Super Division in Côte d’Ivoire sees Africa Sports leading with eight points, followed by Sewe Sports one behind. Leaders APR FC suffered their first defeat in Rwanda and allowed Kiyovu Sports to catch them at the top of the standings.