Africa: Cotonsport and Al Ahly continue domestic dominance
Two of Africa’s top football championships have been decided in the past few days with Cotonsport maintaining their stranglehold of the Cameroonian domestic game whilst Al Ahly did likewise in Egypt.
Cotonsport, from the north Cameroonian city of Garoua, sealed their tenth league title in fifteen seasons with a 2-1 win against fourth place Unisport Bafang. The victory meant that Cotonsport increased their advantage at the top of the MTN Elite One league by eight points over nearest challengers Astres Douala with just one match to play after the latter lost their penultimate game of the campaign 1-0 to eighth place Tiko United. This title triumph is all the sweeter for Cotonsport who are now joint record champions of Cameroon along with Canon Yaoundé who claimed the last of their ten championship wins in 1992. Cotonsport have also been rewarded with a place in the 2012 CAF Champions League qualifiers but, in the meantime, they can now prepare for the group stages of the 2011 edition in which they will meet Enyimba (Nigeria), Raja Casablanca (Morocco) and Al-Hilal (Sudan) starting next weekend.
Egypt’s most successful club Al Ahly clinched their seventh consecutive Egyptian Premier League title having thrashed bottom club Arab Constructors 5-1 on Wednesday. This result, coupled with closest challengers Zamalek’s 1-1 draw at home to 12th place Wadi Degla, meant that the margin at the top between the top two teams was seven points with just one solitary game left to play. The only way the title chase would’ve gone to the last day would’ve been if Al Ahly had lost and Zamalek had won but this is now academic. Al Ahly have denied Zamalek a championship win in their centenary year and did so despite starting the season in indifferent fashion. The political and civil unrest which affected the country in January certainly came at the right time for Al Ahly in that it stopped Zamalek whilst they were in good form and were looking favourites for the title. Since the resumption of the league in April, Al Ahly have remained unbeaten in fourteen matches (10 wins, 4 draws) whilst Zamalek slumped in that time taking just 21 points from the last 42 available (5 wins, 6 draws, 3 defeats). This vindicated Al Ahly’s decision to bring back former coach Manuel José for a third time following Hossam Al-Badry’s dismissal.