Surprise leaders make their case
Unfashionable FUS Rabat in Morocco and CA Bizertin in Tunisia remain league leaders as they threaten the long-standing established order. Enugu Rangers went top in Nigeria after leaders Enyimba drew at home, while the new season started off well for Zimbabwe’s top two clubs.
Tunisia Ligue 1: Bizertin retake top spot
Leaders CA Bizertin kept up their unbeaten record and retook top spot from defending champions Esperance as they beat Etoile Sahel 1-0. Esperance did not play at the weekend but assumed the championship’s top place after victory on Thursday at home to third-placed AS Marsa. Marsa played again three days later and drew at Club Africain to stay third, with Etoile fourth.
Big game: Bizertin’s credentials as possible champions were always going to be tested by Etoile Sahel, but Mohamed Slama’s acrobatic overhead winner in stoppage time at the end of the game makes Bizertin now a clear obstacle to the established order.
Headline-grabbers: Former Tunisia and Libya national coach Faouzi Benzarti is back in charge at Etoile Sahel, appointed last Monday, making his debut on Thursday and playing a second game on Sunday. Also returning is coach Robertinho at Etoile Hammam-Sousse, who are third from bottom with just a single win in their first 13 matches of the season. Roberto do Carmo, to give his full name, first arrived in North Africa in 2005 at Stade Tunisien, with whom he had two spells.
Nigeria Premier League: Enyimba stumble, Rangers take top
Enugu Rangers profited from the failure of Enyimba to win at home to go top of the standings. Rangers kept up their unbeaten home record with a 3-2 win over Shooting Stars to move to 32 points, while Enyimba were held to a 1-1 draw by Akwa United and are on 31 points, two above third-placed Kano Pillars whose winless run away from home continued as the lost 1-0 at champions Dolphins.
Big game: Talabi Olumakinde scored twice but still wound up on the losing end as Rangers won in a five-goal thriller. Chikeluba Ofoedu and Rasaq Adegbite ensured Rangers a two-goal lead at the interval and it was not until the last six minutes that the game came alive again with three quick goals. Olumakinde pulled one back, but Chinedu Sunday then made it 3-1 before Olumakinde scored again on the stroke of full-time.
Headline-grabbers: Dauda Eboh was the toast of Akwa United, and many other teams chasing the top place, as he ensured Enyimba were held. Eboh scored a second-half equaliser after the former African champions, whose home ground in Aba is usually a burial ground for visiting teams, had taken the lead in the 33rd minute through Onyekachi Okoye.
Zimbabwe premier league: Champions win opening game
The first weekend of the new season saw an average of almost three goals per game with convincing performance from champions Dynamos, perennial challengers Highlanders and free-spending FC Platinum. Dynamos beat newly promoted Hardbody 3-0, while Highlanders handed Blue Rangers a tough introduction to the top flight with a 4-0 win in Bulawayo. Monomotapa and Platinum were the only away winners.
Big game: Takesure Chinyama scored a hat-trick on his debut for Dynamos as they easily beat new boys Hardbody, who had captain Calisto Maheya sent off early in the second half. The 29-year-old Chinyama has spent the last five seasons in Poland but is back home after some trials with South African clubs.
Headline-grabbers: Milton Ncube was also a hat-trick standout for Bulawayo-based Highlanders as they won easily in Barbourfields. He set the tone early after just 10 minutes with a dipping free-kick and added others in the 27th and 69th minutes. The other goal came from Ozias Zibande, who was making his debut.
Morocco Botola: Leaders both win but champs lose
FUS Rabat still have a three-point lead over Moghreb Tetouan after both title-chasing clubs won at the weekend, but defeat for defending champions Raja Casablanca leaves them trailing in third, nine behind the leaders and six behind Tetouan. Raja’s defeat at Widad Fes was a surprise setback, but it allowed Widad to breath a little easier just above the relegation zone.
Big game: FUS Rabat continue to keep an unbeaten record going at home and although they squeezed to a win against Hassania Agadir, they avoided a fourth successive draw with their 1-0 triumph. Brahim El Bahri scored the only goal of the game after just seven minutes to extend their unbeaten league run to nine successive games. Tetouan won 3-0 at home over FAR Rabat.
Headline-grabbers: Raja were obviously still nursing a hangover after conceding five goals in the CAF Champions League last weekend and found themselves behind after only three minutes in Fes with central defender Anass Azim heading home unmarked. Abdessalam Benjelloun won a penalty in the second half that Omar Hassi converted to double the score.
Black Africa are one point from the title in Namibia, leading by 15 with five games to go after an away win over Mighty Gunners. Angola Girabola champions Recreativo Libolo won 2-1 away at last season’s runners-up Kabuscorp, but are still one point behind joint leaders Petro Atletico and Primeiro Agosto. OC Muungano moved to nine points after a 3-0 win over AS Vutuka and are just behind the leaders in the early stages of the league in DR Congo.