CAF: Tough opening weekend in African club competitions
Despite the lack of winners and losers in the opening round of matches in the CAF Champions League group stages this weekend there was still plenty to shout about. The CAF Confederation Cup, Africa’s second-tier competition, almost followed suit with two of this weekend’s four matches ending in a stalemate. Only Nigerian club Sunshine Stars and Moroccans MAS Fez managed to get three points from their opening group stage fixtures.
Two teams who were recently crowned their respective national champions, Raja Casblanca (Morocco) and Coton Sport (Cameroon) could only muster a 0-0 draw in their opening Group A fixture. Their group rivals Enyimba FC (Nigeria) and Al-Hilal Omdurman (Sudan) shared four goals between them with Edward Sadomba’s brace for Al-Hilal cancelled out by goals from Valentine Nwabili and Uche Kalu for Enyimba. In Group B there was an exciting six goal thriller in Egypt as record champions Al Ahly were just seconds away from enjoying an opening day victory. However Mouhcine Lajour equalized in the 89th minute to seal a point for Wydad Casablanca as the Moroccans salvaged a 3-3 draw. In Algeria there were two early goals as Oussama Darragi opened the scoring after seven minutes for Espérance ST (Tunisia) only for the home side MC Alger to equalize ten minutes later through Mohamed Megherbi.
The two games in Group B of the CAF Confederation Cup went the way of Sunshine Stars and MAS Fez who enjoyed wins over DR Congo’s Motema Pembe and Algeria’s JS Kabylie respectively. Sunshine Stars, who currently lie second in their domestic championship, were grateful to goal scorers Dayo Ojo and Ajani Ibrahim in their 2-0 home win whilst MAS Fez won by a solitary goal from Chemseddine Chetaibi in their Group B fixture. Both matches in Group A ended in a 1-1 score line with Kaduna United (Nigeria) tied with Inter Luanda (Angola) and ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast) drawing with Club Africain (Tunisia).