Shock for Esperance, joy for Sewe
Sewe Sport have snapped a run of almost three decades of dominance to be crowned champions in Côte d’Ivoire while in nearby Senegal a dramatic final of the play-off campaign has been set between Casa Sports and Diambars. Tunisia’s league season restarted after a eight-week hiatus with a shock for African champions Esperance and a change at the top of the standings.
Côte d’Ivoire super division: A first for Sewe Sport
Sewe Sport have won a first-ever Ivorian championship, scoring a dramatic late equaliser to pick up the point needed after a controversial penalty, awarded eight minutes into stoppage time against ASEC Abidjan, was converted to ensure the club from San Pedro can no longer be caught. ASEC had been hoping to halt Sewe’s march, but the 1-1 draw was not enough to keep alive their chances
Big game: ASEC started the day five points behind Sewe Sport, but they were hopeful that a home win would cut the lead to just two and set up an intriguing final day of the season next weekend. The game proved tempestuous after ASEC’s Cameroonian import Michel Mvondo was sent off, but despite going down to ten men, they scored first through Iddi Ganiyu in the 70th minute, only to concede a penalty for a handball which Koffi Foba Stevens converted in stoppage time.
Headline-grabbers: For the last 27 seasons – since Stella Abidjan’s success in 1984 – just two clubs have won the Ivorian league title race. Between them, ASEC and Africa Sports have been imperious, that is until Sunday. To make their achievement even more significant, Sewe are the first club outside the economic capital to have been crowned champions since SC Gagnoa in 1976.
Tunisia Ligue 1: Esperance toppled from the top
Champions Esperance suffered a surprise setback on the resumption of the league after the break, losing at Olympique Beja and ceding top place to CA Bizertin. A 2-0 win over US Monastir ensured Bizertin went two points clear with five matches left to play. AS Marsa remain mathematically also still in the race, albeit 12 points behind the leaders. They are third after a 0-0 draw at home to Etoile Sahel.
Big game: Just a week after a major triumph in the CAF Champions League, Esperance were humbled at Beja, who climbed out of the relegation zone with their 3-1 win. Three goals in 16 minutes saw Beja romped into a half-time lead. Esperance pulled a goal back with a 74th-minute penalty from Khaled Mouelhi, but by then it was too late to avoid only a third league defeat this year.
Headline-grabbers: Bizerte’s dreams of a second post-independence championship, to add to their previous success in 1984, came a step closer with the 2-0 win over USM at the Stade 15 October in the northern town. Libya's imposing international striker Ahmed Zuway opened the scoring in the 13th minute and the vital haul of points was made sure 20 minutes from time by Edem Rejaibi.
Senegal Ligue 1: A new champion on the horizon
Either Diambars or Casa Sport will be crowned champions for the first time next weekend when the season comes to a close. Diambars will go into the game in Saly with a two-point lead after winning 3-2 away away at Niary Tally at the weekend to take over as leaders. Casa Sport dropped vital points at home in Ziguinchor to outgoing champions Ouakam in a goalless draw.
Big game: Diambars, known as Les Academiciens, stunned Niary Tally with two goals in the first three minutes of their match at Dakar from Arfand Daffe and Ousseynou Ndiaye, but they were forced to hold on grimly at the end when their hosts fought back. Twice Niary Tally pulled a goal back, but the strike from Aristide Diedhiou five minutes from time set up a famous win for Boubacar Gadiaga’s team.
Headline-grabbers: Casa Sports are still confident they can take the title to the Casamance province for the first time even if they have dropped vital points in recent weeks with just one win in their last four play-off group matches. “We still have our chances, we proved it with the way we dominated against Ouakam," said coach Ibou Diarra.
Zambia Premier League: Zanaco five points clear
Zanaco won away at Nchanga Rangers to ensure a five-point lead at the head of the standings, sitting on 47 points with eight rounds left in the season. Zesco United are in second place with 42 points and defending champions Power Dynamos third with 40 points, still believing they can hold on to their title.
Big game: It was from the penalty spot that Zanaco grabbed victory in Chingola with midfielder Henry Banda successfully converting. Zanaco have now won their last three games, all of them by a 1-0 score, and their economy in front of goals is emphasised by the fact that it was last six games ago that they managed two goals in a single match.
Headline-grabbers: Winston Kalengo was the hero for Zesco as they stayed in the title race with a 1-0 win in a tough tussle with Nkana, who might be relegated.
Recreativo Libolo have extended now to 23 matches their unbeaten run in Angola and have a nine-point lead. In Zimbabwe, Highlanders are also still unbeaten after 19 games and lead arch rivals Dynamos by six points. Leaders AFC Leopards lost at home to KCB but are still tops in Kenya, but Tusker are now just four points in arrears.