Frontrunners stay the course in Africa
The changing of the guard in Cameroon continues with Union Douala extending their lead in the title race. In southern Africa, Recreativo Libolo in Angola and Highlanders in Zimbabwe continue their unbeaten runs. But in Zambia, the leading trio of clubs all contrived to lose at the weekend.
Cameroon Elite One: Union keep streak going
Union Douala’s lead is now up to six points after a comfortable home success over Sable Batie while their closest two challengers in Elite One both faltered. Panthere Nde were held to a home draw while YOSA lost away. Both are on 30 points but likely to be overtaken by defending champions Coton Sport, who are expected to be awarded the points after opponents Scorpion Bey did not pitch for their scheduled encounter at the weekend.
Big game: Union Douala shrugged off a mediocre first-half performance to score at the start of the second half and through Edoa Nga. Further goals from Joel Babanda and Yon Loa sealed an emphatic victory for the 1979 African champions, who extended to five successive matches their current winning run.
Headline-grabbers: Bottom placed Scorpion Bey refused to play in their derby against Coton Sport at Garoua in a protest at the failure of the struggling club to pay the players. It is the second such strike action this season in Elite One, but YOSA’s dispute was settled before such drastic action. If all three points are awarded to Coton Sport, they will move to 31 points.
Zambia Super League: Top trio all tumble
The top three teams all lost at the weekend to keep up the intrigue as the title race heads into the business end of the season with 11 games to go. The beneficiary of the failure of the trio of Zanaco, Zesco United and Power Dynamos to add any points was the air force club Red Arrows, who are fourth but just three points behind the leaders.
Big game: Red Arrows played the last 20 minutes down to ten men after a red card for defender Joseph Zimba, but they held onto the lead they grabbed just after half-time. The goal-hero of the afternoon proved to be Lubinda Mundia, who scored the only goal away from home against Zanaco at Lusaka’s Sunset Stadium.
Headline-grabbers: Alex Ngonga made a perfect point to his employers Power Dynamos when he scored against them and helped make another goal. The striker has been loaned this season to Nchanga Rangers and travelled to Kitwe this weekend to remind Dynamos of his quality. He scored from close range and then set up one for Aubrey Funga.
Zimbabwe Premier League: Leaders go on goal spree
Highlanders remain four points ahead of the chasing pack as they thrashed bottom-placed Quelation 7-1 to start the second half of the season in dominant form. But the four teams below them also all won to keep up the pressure, including defending champions Dynamos, who have two games in hand and are six points adrift.
Big game: It was the biggest winning margin of the season so far as Milton Ncube and teenage substitute Ozias Zibande both grabbed two goals and Highlanders kept up their unbeaten run. Ncube now has nine goals for the season. The other scorers were Bhekimpilo Ncube, Masimba Mambare and goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, who converted a penalty.
Headline-grabbers: Caps United fired their Irish coach Sean Connor after the weekend’s 3-2 loss at Hwange. Taurai Mangwiro was immediately appointed as his replacement as the Harare-based club flounder in the bottom half of the standings, with just five wins from their first 16 matches of the season. A difficult debut awaits the new coach against leaders Highlanders next weekend
Angola GiraBola: Dominance continued
Last season Recreativo Libolo edged past Kabuscorp to win their first ever GiraBola. On the weekend they replayed the triumph, but this time to extend to 13 points their lead in the standings with ten matches left in the season. Primeiro Agosto and Petro Atletico, in second and third spots, were both held to draws to make it an even more profitable weekend for the leaders.
Big game: Libolo’s home base in Calulo, in the Kwanza Sul province, continued to be a veritable fortress as they saw off the challenge of last season’s runners-up. But it did take the hosts 52 minutes to open the scoring against fourth-placed Kabuscorp through Camara before Vado added a second 13 minutes later.
Headline-grabbers: Nacional Benguela won only their 11th point of the season but in the most unexpected circumstances as they took a point away off Petro Atletico. It was expected to be a routine assignment for the hosts at Luanda’s Estadio 11 de Novembro, but Nacional held out for a potentially vital point. They are still bottom of the GiraBola, four points adrift of second-bottom Academica Soyo.
The title race in Guinea is down to the wire with Horoya two points ahead of Atletico Coleyah with one round to play. There is just a two goal difference between leaders TP Mazembe Englebert and V Club in the Super League in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they are both tied on points. Lesotho are to start their new league season on 25 August with LCS seeking a third successive title.