Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Africa: Young Africans claim fourth Kagame Cup title

Posted in African Football by peterbein on July 11, 2011

Young Africans FCIn an all-Tanzanian affair the Kagame Inter-Club Cup, a tournament for clubs from east and central Africa, has been won by Young Africans Football Club following a narrow 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Simba Sports Club.

The game was always going to be a close affair with Tanzania’s two most decorated club sides facing each other in the final. Young Africans, more commonly known as Yanga, had won the tournament three times before Sunday’s final whilst Simba were hoping to add to their record six triumphs in this competition. Both of these clubs enjoy a domestic dominance with the two Dar es Salaam giants having won 34 national titles between them and have both shared every league title played since 2000. With this much riding on the game it was clear that this match would be tight.

Young Africans had qualified for the final having topped Group B against semi-finalists Al-Merreikh (Sudan), Bunamwaya FC (Uganda) and Elwan FC (Somalia) before getting past Red Sea FC (Eritrea) and Saint George FC (Ethiopia) in the knockout rounds. Simba SC topped the five-team Group A before eliminating Bunamwaya FC and Al-Merreikh en route to the final. The final itself was scoreless after ninety minutes and the decisive goal of the game didn’t come until the 108th minute. Young Africans’ forward Kenneth Asamoah headed home the crucial goal to help his team win this tournament for the fourth time.

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CAF: Hosts Rwanda among the final four in U-17 Championship

Posted in African Football by peterbein on January 16, 2011

CAF U-17 Championship logoThe semi-final line-up in the CAF Under-17 Championship in Rwanda has been decided. The four semi-finalists already have the pleasure of having qualified for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup so they will all take to the field this week in the hope of becoming continental champions.

Hosts Rwanda are amongst the final four after finishing second in Group A just behind Burkina Faso on goal difference. Rwanda defeated Burkina Faso in the opening match by two goals to one and had virtually secured qualification upon defeating Egypt 1-0 on Matchday 2. The final group game however saw the hosts go down to a late Senegal winner which meant that Burkina Faso’s 4-0 win over Egypt tilted the balance in their favour. Burkina Faso have reached their second consecutive semi-final at this level and will aspire to go one better than in 2009 when they lost out to Algeria.

In Group B the Ivory Coast and Congo have taken the top two spots, both of whom acculated seven points from their three games. Both teams had opening wins against Gambia and Mali before playing out a 2-2 draw against each other in Matchday 2. Qualification was secured on Matchday 3 this weekend with the Ivory Coast taking top spot on goal difference thanks to their 4-1 hammering of Gambia whilst Congo secured a slender 2-1 win over Mali. It was a disappointing end for Gambia who won the previous tournament in 2009 whilst Mali remained pointless having suffered three consecutive defeats.

In the semi-finals Burkina Faso will meet Congo on Tuesday whilst hosts Rwanda will hope home advantage counts in their semi-final encounter with the Ivory Coast on Wednesday. The winners will play in next Saturday’s final in the Stade Amaroho, Kigali whilst the losers will compete in the 3rd/4th play-off on Friday.

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Africa: Under-17 championship kicks off in Rwanda

Posted in African Football by peterbein on January 7, 2011

CAF U-17 logoThe country of Rwanda hosts the CAF African Under-17 Championship from today as eight countries fight it out not only for the continental title but also for one of the four available places in the FIFA Under-17 World Championship which takes place in Mexico this summer.

The African U-17 Championship has existed in its current form since 1995 and takes place every two years. In that time five countries – Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, Egypt and Cameroon – have all had their hands on the trophy. Ghana were the initial force to be reckoned with in the tournament winning two of the first three events in 1995 and 1999 with a win for Egypt sandwiched inbetween. Since then, bar for a maiden triumph for Cameroon in 2003, the event has been dominated by Nigeria and Gambia, both of whom have chalked up two victories apiece in the most recent five tournaments. Gambia are the defending champions having got the better of hosts Algeria in 2009 with a 3-1 victory.

The 2011 competition sees eight teams divided into two groups of four with the top two teams from each group going through to the semi-finals and, as a result, qualifying for the FIFA U-17 World Championship. From then it’s a straight knock out format with the final to be played in Stade Amahoro in the Rwandan capital city of Kigali on January 22nd to decide the champions of Africa at this level. Here are the two groups ahead of the big kick-off this weekend:

GROUP A: Rwanda; Burkina Faso; Senegal; Egypt

GROUP B: Gambia; Gabon; Ivory Coast; Mali

 

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CAF: Mazembe win; Record champions in stalemate

Posted in African Football by peterbein on July 18, 2010
Given Singuluma

Given Singuluma scored twice for TP Mazembe in their 2-0 away win at Dynamos

The opening matchday of the African Champions League took place this weekend and it was a good one for defending champions TP Mazembe whose campaign goes from strength to strength following a 2-0 win in Zimbabwe. Record champions Al Ahly, however, had to come from behind to snatch a draw away at Nigerians Heartland FC.

The weekend began with in Group A and a battle between two north African heavyweights. Tunisian giants Espérance Sportive travelled to Algeria to face ES Sétif and came away with the three points following a Wadji Bouazzi strike early in the second half. TP Mazembe’s two goal victory away at Dynamos FC has given the defending African champions a perfect start and the top spot in Group A thanks to Zambian striker Given Singuluma whose brace came in the first half to secure the three points from the team hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Group B record champions Al Ahly were ultimately grateful to seal a point from their game away at Heartland who took the lad after 49 minutes thanks to Joshua Obaje. But the Egyptians got their equalizer in the 75th minute from the penalty spot which was scored by Abou Treika much to the relief of their coach Hossam El-Badry. In the other Group B match played in Egypt home side Al Ismaily were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Algerians JS Kabylie thanks to a lone strike from Belkacem Remache with fourteen minutes remaining of the match.

In the CAF Confederation Cup record champions CS Sfaxien could only draw 0-0 in their play-off, first leg match away at Angolan side Atlético Petróleos. The big winners in the opening legs were Zambians Zanaco FC who hammered their Nigerian opponents Enyimba by four goals to nil and, in the last game of the weekend on Sunday, Sudanese club Al Hilal went one better by scoring five past Zimbabwe’s CAPS United without reply. Other winners in the opening legs were Ittihad (2-0 v Primeiro de Agosto), Gaborone United (1-0 v Haras El Hodood) and Supersport United (2-1 v FUS Rabat) whilst the games involving Al-Merreikh v ASFAN FC and Djoliba v CR Belouizdad finished 2-2 and 0-0 respectively to ensure a nervous second leg in each case.

Sometimes football is a matter of life AND death…

Posted in African Football by peterbein on January 9, 2010
Emmanuel Adebayor

Emmanuel Adebayor was on the Togo team bus that was attacked.

It is with great sadness that I should have to post a blog today that focuses on off the field tragedy rather than looking forward to on the field matters building up to the African Cup of Nations that begins in Angola tomorrow. However it has been announced that the Togolese national team has decided to withdraw from the tournament after their team bus came under attack from people, whose motives are unknown, brandishing machine guns with which they killed the bus driver and injured two of the squad, Serge Akakpo and Kodjovi Obilale.

Unfortunately it is increasingly the case that people who think that sports stars are immune from the sort of danger that ordinary citizens face in everyday life are incorrect. Other sports have suffered tragedy, most recently cricket has had to face up to a similar horror when the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked when about to play in a Test Match against Pakistan in Lahore in March 2009. Several cricket players, including captain Mahela Jayawardene, were injured whilst six policemen and a civilian were killed. In both these tragic cases it happened despite the presence of heavy security and it seems that people who intend to injure, harm or kill others will do so no matter what it takes.

Despite the decision taken by Togo to withdraw from the tournament it has been announced this afternoon by the African Football Confederation (CAF) that the competition will go ahead as planned from tomorrow. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has asked the head of the CAF, Issa Hayatou, for a full report into the incident, no doubt hoping to learn lessons with the FIFA World Cup due to take place in South Africa later this year. Issues surrounding crime and safety have already been brought up in relation to the World Cup as thousands of fans from over thirty countries will travel this summer to a country whose troubles with law and order have been well documented in the last few years and this attack will certainly worry the powers that be as they seek to re-assure fans, officals and players that their safety is paramount.

There will be many people who will say that the only way to ensure that the terrorists don’t win is to go ahead with everything as normal. Of course there is some sympathy for that argument but one must consider that should anything equally, if not more, tragic should occur during this tournament then serious questions will need to be asked and fully accounted for. One can fully understand why the Togo national team has no desire to participate in this tournament despite the prestige that such a competition can give to their nation. Team captain Emmanuel Adebayor convened a meeting with his players after the incident and made a statement later on stating that “most of the players want to go back to their family. No-one can sleep after what they have seen today. They have seen one of their team-mates have a bullet in his body, who is crying, who is losing consciousness and everything….I don’t think they [the players] will be ready to give their life.”

That final point is the most poignant. To many people football, to use that oft-quoted remark from Bill Shankly, is a matter of life or death. Sadly it became, yesterday, a matter of life AND death and it is with this is mind that everybody in the world of football and elsewhere should send their sympathies and condolence to the Togo national team and pray that nothing else happens to compound this truth even further during the next few weeks in Angola.Thilan Samaraweera and
Tharanga Paranavitana were hospitalisedThilan Samaraweera and
Tharanga Paranavitana were hospitalised

FIFA Club World Cup preview

FIFA Club World Cup

Seven teams will fight it out in the UAE for the trophy

Love it or loathe it the FIFA Club World Cup is going to remain a staple part of the football calendar. To some observers it’s a chance to win a trophy and add more prestige to their club. To some others it’s a competition that turns up in the middle of a long hard season, getting in the way of domestic progress. Either way there will be seven teams in the United Arab Emirates from December 9-19 who will be giving everything to win the cup. Here is Stoppage Time’s guide to the participants:

FC BARCELONA – UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS 2009

FC Barcelona became European champions for the third time in May after beating Manchester United 2-0 in Rome. It is surprising that a massive club such as “Barça” has never won the FIFA Club World Cup or its predecessor, the Intercontinental Cup. After twice being crowned European champions in 1992 and 2006 the Catalans have been defeated by Brazilian clubs in their attempts to be crowned the world’s best. In 1992 a São Paulo side inspired by Rai beat Barça 2-1 and then, three years ago, Internacional scored a late goal to deny Barcelona again. This time the ‘Blaugrana’ hope to make it third time lucky in this tournament and add the FIFA Club World Cup to the other five trophies they’ve won under their coach Pep Guardiola.

ESTUDIANTES DE LA PLATA – COPA LIBERTADORES WINNERS 2009

Estudiantes won their fourth Copa Libertadores with a 2-1 victory over two legs against Brazilian side Cruzeiro. The Argentinian side had a mixed record in the Intercontinental Cup during their heyday in the late 1960s and early 70s. Their solo victory came in 1968 after a 2-1 aggregate win over Manchester United (before 1979 the champions of Europe and South America played home and away matches to win the cup). Their next two efforts, however, ended in failure; in 1969 Milan won 4-2 on aggregate and in 1970 Feyenoord Rotterdam claimed their only world title with a 3-2 aggregate win. Can Juan Sebastián Verón emulate his father Juan Ramón’s achievements and become a world champion with his boyhood club?

ATLANTE CF – CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS 2009

The Mexican side secured their second CONCACAF Champions League title after an all-Mexican affair with Cruz Azul ended up 2-0 after a two-legged final. Atlante’s other title win was back in 1983 when they defeated Surinam’s Robinhood FC (yes, really!) 6-1 over two legs. Atlante’s Club World Cup campaign will kick-off at the quarter-final stage against either Al Ahli or Auckland City, who meet in the first match of the competition.

POHANG STEELERS – AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS 2009

The three time Asian champions have not always dominated the domestic scene in South Korea but tend to thrive in Asian club competition. After previous successes in 1997 and 1998, Pohang Steelers won a third title this year by defeating Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia 2-1 in Tokyo’s National Stadium. Pohang will play against TP Mazembe at the quarter-final stage, the winner of which faces Estudiantes in the semi-finals.

TP MAZEMBE – CAF AFRICAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS 2009

The Congolese side have been African champions on three occasions after their most recent success was decided on away goals against Nigerian team Heartlands FC. After the Nigerians won the first leg 2-1 at home, Mazembe won the second leg 1-0 to secure a passage to the Middle East. A meeting with Estudiantes de la Plata awaits if they can overcome Pohang Steelers in the quarter-final.

AUCKLAND CITY – OFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS 2009

The New Zealanders will be participating in the FIFA Club World Cup for a second time, after their previous appearance in 2006, following their 9-4 win over Soloman Islands’ club Koloale FC in the two-legged OFC Champions League final. In 2006 Auckland City lost in the opening play-off match to Al Ahly of Egypt 2-0. Can they avoid a repeat against a similarly named Al Ahli of UAE in this year’s tournament?

AL AHLI – UAE LEAGUE CHAMPIONS 2009

Representing the host country in this year’s tournament, Al Ahli have never been Asian champions but are the current UAE League champions after winning the title by one point from nearest challengers Al Jazira Club. Last season’s attempt at continental glory came to an end in the group phase of the AFC Champions League competition. Will meet Atlante CF in the quarter-final if they beat Auckland City in the play-off match.