Favourites stumble in North Africa
Tusker FC won their first title since 2007 on the final day of the season in Kenya, denying Ulinzi Stars successive titles. In Madagascar, there was a first-ever championship for Japan Actuel’s from Manjakaray. Tunisia’s Esperance, headed soon to the FIFA Club World Cup, already seemed to have their minds in Japan as they lost their first league match in 10 months in Tunisia. Algerian leaders USM Alger also lost but in Ghana Asante Kotoko kept up their slender advantage.
Kenya Premier League: Joy for Tusker
Tusker had to be awoken from a first half slumber but got the win they needed - 1-0 over bottom-placed Congo United - to take back the league crown. Defending champions Ulinzi Stars had the advantage going into the final week of the race but lost their catch-up match against Sofapaka in midweek, handing Tusker the initiative on the last day of the campaign.
Big game: The big occasion threatened to overwhelm the Tusker players as they battled against already relegated Congo United, but it seemed a half-time talk from coach Sammy Omollo energised their efforts. Just three minutes after the break, Joseph Shikokoti scored a diving header to put one hand on the crown, and there was a heart-stopping late save to ensure the championship.
Headline-grabbers: Stephen Waruru bagged a consolation prize after the weekend without much effort. He did not score in the last game of the season for Ulinzi Stars but his 12-goal haul for the season saw him end as the leading scorer. On the last day of the campaign team-mate Anthony Ndirutu grabbed a hat trick for Stars in a 3-0 win over Posta Rangers, but it was too title, too late for the outgoing champions.
Tunisia Ligue 1: African champions suffer rare setback
New continental champions Esperance suffered their first defeat in a league for almost a year as they went down to CA Bizertin away from home at the weekend. Bizertin are in a three-way tie at the top of the standings after the first three rounds of the new season. Also on seven points are Etoile Sahel and Club Africain, who beat JS Kairouan. Etoile were held to a 2-2 draw at home by AS Gabes
Big game: Esperance last lost a game away at Etoile Sahel in January but after the euphoria of winning the CAF Champions League they came back down to earth with defeat in the north of the country. Esperance had the lead in the first half after Youssef Msakni scored in the 21st minute but conceded two goals in the second half as Hassan Herbawy scored an equaliser just after half-time and Nour Hadhria netted the 70th-minute winner from the penalty sport.
Headline-grabbers: AS Gabes have drawn their three games in the new season, but a 2-2 tie at Etoile Sahel will have felt like a win for the side, who finished second from bottom in the last campaign but were granted a reprieve and kept their top flight status. Anis Boucharbia grabbed all the headlines with his last gasp equaliser after the home team had fought back from conceding a first-minute penalty.
Ghana Premier League: Kotoko keep the beat
Asante Kotoko have a one point lead at the top of the table as they kept up their unbeaten start to the season with a 4-1 home win over newly promoted Wassaman. They have 18 points after eight games, one more than champions Berekum Chelsea and long-standing rivals Hearts of Oak, who have both lost once in their first eight outings of the season.
Big game: Four goals in the first half suggested a rout in Kumasi for Kotoko as they took on rookies Wassaman. Ahmed Toure, the Ivorian-born striker who recently took out Ghanaian citizenship, and Nathaniel Asamoah scored two apiece but the master class did not continue as expected after the break as the home side lost the momentum.
Headline-grabbers: After changing their coach at the start of the season, champions Berekum Chelsea have now won four games in a row and are right back near the top of the table. Their latest success at home came with a convincing 4-0 win over AshantiGold, including two goals for Emmanuel Clottey, a penalty to start from captain Abdul Basit and one for Moro Awudu.
Algeria Premier Division: Derby defeat but still top
USM Alger lost the capital city derby to struggling Mouloudia Alger but maintained the one-point advantage they have in the league. Entente Setif won for a fourth successive game to jump to second on 20 points while the trio of CR Belouizdad, ASO Chlef and USM El Harrach are just two behind the leaders on 19.
Big game: New USMA coach Didier Olle-Nicolle came face to face with intensity of the Algerian league as his side went down in the derby to 72nd-minute goal from Hamza Zeddam. It was a battling performance from MC Alger, who had won just twice before in the season. But their coach Francois Bracci refused to get carried away. “The sweetest win for us will be our next one,” he said after the game.
Headline-grabbers: ES Setif lost three of their first four games of the new season and were near the bottom at the start of the new campaign. But then came a win over champions ASO Chlef and they have not looked back since with a haul of 17 points out of a possible 21. Their latest win came at home to WA Tlemcen with two goals in the first six minutes.
Japan Acteul’s FC have been crowned champions in Madagascar after securing the Champions League with a 2-0 win over ASJF Capricorne on Sunday. Defending champions Coffee FC were held to a 2-2 draw by Harar Brewery on the opening day on Sunday of the new Ethiopian season. Black Africa’s Jerome Louis scored his sixth goal of the season as his club consolidated a six point lead in Namibia.