Zamalek 4-0 Tusker (agg. 5-0): Brewers eliminated from Caf Champions League

Zamalek 4-0 Tusker (agg. 5-0): Brewers eliminated from Caf Champions League

The Kenyan champions will now turn their attention to the Caf Confederation Cup aiming at making it to the group stage

Tusker FC have been eliminated from the Caf Champions League after a 4-0 loss to Zamalek at Borg El Arab Stadium on Friday night.

Having lost the first leg by a solitary goal, the Kenyan champions came aiming at defying the odds to advance against the Egyptian giants.

But a brace from Youssef Obama and a goal each from Seifeddine Jaziri and Achraf Bencharki relegated the visitors to the Caf Confederation Cup playoff round.

There they will face one of the winners of the first round of qualifiers in the Confederation Cup for a place in the group stage of Africa’s secondary club competition.

Robert Matano made changes to his team, opting to play with Kalos Kirenge, Charles Momanyi and Eugine Asike in the defence while Joshua Ibrahim, Boniface Muchiri, and Deogratious Ojok were preferred in attack.

The Brewers pushed for an opening goal, but Zamalek were not going to give in easily owing to their experience. Hillary Wanders, uncharacteristically, looked nervous and was booked in the seventh minute for a needless foul.

Three minutes later, the defender, once again, made a rushed challenge to hand the hosts a free-kick in a good position. It was brought in and Matasi missed the ball, which fell to the unmarked Obama who headed into an empty net.

Moments later, Joshua was fouled by Zamalek about 20-yards from goal, Muchiri took the matter into his hands but he failed to deliver and the ball was easily cleared by the hosts.

The East Africans lost possession in the 19th minute, and a swift counter-attack caught the players out of position.

It ended with the ball with Jaziri who converted into an empty net once after Matasi had tried to salvage the situation.

It was the Egyptian champions who had several clear chances to get more goals in the first half, but lack of composure and timely interventions by the visitors saved the situation.

The White Knight started the second half the better side, and it took Matasi’s swift reaction to clear a dangerous ball that had beaten the defenders.

After several close calls, the Brewers eventually conceded the third goal in the 72nd minute. Bencharki, who scored in the first leg in Nairobi, expertly beat the defenders before slotting the ball past the goalkeeper.

It got worse for the Football Kenya Federation Premier League champions who conceded the fourth two minutes later, courtesy of Obama.

The Kenyans will now return home to start preparations for Africa’s second-tier competition hoping to qualify for the group stage.

Iwobi nowhere near Everton’s starting XI when everybody is fit – Agbonlahor

Iwobi nowhere near Everton’s starting XI when everybody is fit – Agbonlahor | Goal.com

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Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor said Alex Iwobi is only starting for Everton because of the absence of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin due to injuries.

The 35-year-old hit out at Iwobi because of his inconsistent performances after the Toffees suffered a 1-0 defeat to West Ham United last Sunday.

During the league match at Goodison Park, the Super Eagle missed a chance to put Everton ahead in the first half before Angelo Ogbonna headed home the only goal that separated the teams in the 74th minute.

This season, the former Arsenal youngster has struggled to make an impact for the Merseyside outfit, registering just one assist in seven Premier League games and his only goal came in a League Cup win over Huddersfield Town in August.

Agbolanhor, in his assessment, described Iwobi as a fluctuating player who is yet to cement his place in Rafael Benitez’s squad.

“Iwobi is going to be Iwobi. He’s always been that player from when he was at Arsenal,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider.

“You look at Iwobi one day and he’s the best player on the pitch. The next game he’ll be the worst player.

“Iwobi is always going to be like that. He’s not going to be one that gets a run of starts in the team.

“Arsenal are happy they sold him for the money that they did.

“At Everton, when everybody’s fit, he’ll be nowhere near that starting team. He’s only playing now because of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injuries.

“He’s always going to be up and down as a player.”

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It remains to be seen if the Nigeria international will make his fifth league start of the season with Richarlison declared fit and available for their Premier League outing against Watford on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Benitez revealed in his team update that Calvert-Lewin suffered a setback in his recovery from a quadricep injury which could see him miss action for another four or five weeks.

The Toffees are eighth in the league with 14 points after eight matches.

Lamptey: Brighton and Hove Albion manager Potter commends defender ahead of Manchester City showdown

Lamptey: Brighton and Hove Albion manager Potter commends defender ahead of Manchester City showdown | Goal.com

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Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter has praised Tariq Lamptey’s return to first-team action ahead of Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Manchester City.

Out of top-flight action since December due to injury, the Ghana target completed his return to action with a second-half appearance as the Seagulls held Norwich City to a 0-0 draw in a matchday 8 fixture last Saturday.

He is now in line for his first league start of the season when Brighton go searching for their fifth win of the season against the Citizens.

“Tariq [Lamptey] responded really well [from his appearance against Norwich]. He was excited to be on the pitch, he enjoyed it,” Potter said at the pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s big match, as reported by his club’s official website.

“He’s got a lot of work to do, we just need to keep helping him get back to the Tariq Lamptey we all know.”

Before taking to Premier League football on his injury return, Lamptey made his return with 45 minutes of action in a 2-0 win over Swansea City in the League Cup.

In all, he has two appearances to his name so far this term.

“It was very challenging, but we have good physios and the other players, members of staff and everyone around the club have been amazing. They helped me stay positive,” the right-back told his club’s official website.

“It was great to be back on Saturday but now I just have to make sure I keep training well and when I get my chance I will try and take it. I am just looking forward to playing more games.”

Lamptey was in great form for Brighton last season before suffering the season-ending injury in December.

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The England-born defender had made 11 league appearances for the club, scoring once and providing three assists.

His fine form has reportedly attracted the interest of bigger clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid, and Bayern Munich.

At international level, the England U21 star also did enough to catch the attention of the Ghana Football Association, who moved quickly to offer him a possible senior future with the Black Stars, whom he remains eligible to play for, owing to being born to Ghana parents.

Caf Confederation Cup: Marumo Gallants stun AS Vita Club to reach play-off round

Caf Confederation Cup: Marumo Gallants stun AS Vita Club to reach play-off round | Goal.com

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Marumo Gallants FC reached the Caf Confederation Cup play-off round after stunning DR Congolese giants AS Vita Club in Kinshasa, DR Congo on Friday evening.

Bahlabane Ba Ntwa fought back to hold Vita Club to a 1-1 draw in the second round second-leg clash at Stade des Martyrs and they emerged 3-2 winners on aggregate.

Gallants came into the match leading on aggregate thanks to Celimpilo Ngema’s brace which inspired the PSL side to a 2-1 victory at Peter Mokaba Stadium last week Friday.

The visitors conceded 19 minutes into the game when Jacques Mangoba scored with a thunderous long-range shot which beat goalkeeper Washington Arubi hands down to hand Vita Club a 1-0 lead.

Thabo Mnyamane looked lively for Bahlabane Ba Ntwa as his free-kick narrowly missed keeper Nelson Lukong’s left upright as Gallants pushed for the equalizing goal. 

The Cameroonian shot-stopper then produced a fine save at the back post to deny former SuperSport United forward Mnyamane. 

Vita Club, who won the Caf Champions League title in 1973, were leading 1-0 during the half-time break with the two teams locked at 2-2 on an aggregate and the DR Congolese giants were leading on the away aggregate.

Mpho Maleka – Gallants’ interim coach – introduced Katlego Otladisa, who joined dribbling wizard Joseph Malongoane upfront as the away side looked to pile pressure on the hosts.

Bahlabane Ba Ntwa played long balls and set-pieces into the Black Dolphins’ box and they managed to snatch a late equalising goal in stoppage time. 

A long ball was played into the Vita Club box which the hosts failed to clear and Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo pounced and scored with a header at the far post in stoppage time.

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The goal ensured that the encounter ended in 1-1 draw and it was Gallants, who advanced to the play-off round of Africa’s secondary club competition.

Gallants, who are making their debut appearance in Caf competitions, and the other 15 winners on aggregate will be joined by the 16 losing teams from the Champions League second round.

The 16 winners from the Confederation Cup play-off round will advance to the group stage. 

Caf Confederation Cup: '10,000 fans allowed to watch Al-Al Ahly Merowe clash' – Gor Mahia

Caf Confederation Cup: ‘10,000 fans allowed to watch Al-Al Ahly Merowe clash’ – Gor Mahia | Goal.com

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Up to 10,000 fans will be allowed to attend the Caf Confederation Cup match between Gor Mahia and Al-Ahly Merowe on Sunday, the Football Kenya Federation Premier League side has announced.

It will be the first club game in Kenya that fans will be allowed to attend since they were banned from sporting facilities last year due to the Covid-19 protocols put in place by the state in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Approval

“Up to 10,000 fans would be allowed to watch our second leg of the Caf match against Al-Ahly set for Sunday at Nyayo Stadium after the ministry of health accepted the club’s request and the federation also approved it,” Gor Mahia announced on Friday.

The green light to have the fans at the stadium has come just days after Gor Mahia engaged in their 90th Mashemeji Derby against AFC Leopards. K’Ogalo emerged winners – courtesy of a goal by Boniface Omondi – and registered their 31st Premier League derby win against the rivals.

Although on Tuesday, as Kenya celebrated its Mashujaa Day [the Heroes Day], President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the lifting of the nationwide curfew, but the Ministries of Health and Sports have not given a directive on whether they will soon allow fans to start attending all the matches.

The Premier League started on September 26 and three games have now been played and as was the case with the previous season, no fans have been allowed to watch those games.

Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, who have had to struggle with financial issues, have often been at the forefront calling for the stadium ban to be lifted as their fans’ contributions – via matchday tickets – is one of their major sources of money. 

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The 19-times Premier League winners – who were given a bye in the preliminary round will host Al-Ahly Merowe after picking up a 3-1 win in Cairo six days ago.

Samuel Onyango, Benson Omala and Jules Ulimwengu were K’Ogalo’s scorers in an encounter they had to fight back after going behind in the first half.

Tusker are Kenya’s representatives in the Caf Champions League and faced Egypt’s Premier League champions on October 16 without fans.

Orlando Pirates coach Ncikazi joins Mamelodi Sundowns' Mokwena in questioning Bafana Bafana and Broos

Orlando Pirates coach Ncikazi joins Mamelodi Sundowns’ Mokwena in questioning Bafana Bafana and Broos | Goal.com

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Orlando Pirates co-interim head coach Mandla Ncikazi says there is a communication problem between PSL coaches and the Bafana Bafana technical team.

This comes after Vincent Pule picked up an injury while on national duty for South Africa ahead of their two clashes against Ethiopia in the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers earlier this month and the Pirates winger has since been ruled out of action to up to 12 weeks. 

While Bafana head coach Hugo Broos substituted Tshegofatso Mabasa just 35 minutes into their first match against Ethiopia in Bahir Dar as he felt that the Pirates striker was ineffective and he has since struggled to score goals for the Soweto giants. 

Ncikazi has joined Rhulani Mokwena in questioning Broos as the Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach blamed the national team after several Masandawana players picked up injuries while in the Bafana camp.

“The issue of communication with PSL coaches and national team, I don’t want to repeat what has been said by other coaches, but the fact that problems that other clubs are mentioning are also happening at our club just shows you that things are not done correctly,” Ncikazi told the media.

“I’ll give you an example of the previous coach where I was. I met him personally because he came to training to watch our team training session. He discussed things with the technical team and he addressed the players on his expectations.

“I would have expected that the same will continue, but to be honest it has never happened for whatever reason. It becomes very difficult, I have tried to communicate with some members but it should not be done that way.

“It should not be in isolation where a coach from one club must try and connect with the national coach because the structure must inform what are the expectations of the national coach from coaches.”

Ncikazi, who is working alongside fellow Pirates co-interim head coach Fadlu Davids, stressed that there should be a mutual understanding between Bafana and PSL clubs in order for players to avoid injuries.

“It is an area that needs to be ironed out because it will lessen the problems we have currently in terms of injuries of players,” he added. 

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“To give you an example, if we were having a loading session today and one of our players is selected to the national team tomorrow and they have a loading, already on that one, there is a risk of injuries.

“A better understanding and communication between the two parties will help the national team and will also help the clubs so that when our players come back from the national team they are still useful to the team. I think that is highly important but that’s not happening currently.”

Pirates are set to face Congo-Brazzaville side Diables Noirs in the Caf Confederation Cup second round second-leg clash on Sunday.

Orlando Pirates coach Ncikazi joins Mamelodi Sundowns' Mokwena in questioning Bafana Bafana and Broos

Orlando Pirates coach Ncikazi joins Mamelodi Sundowns’ Mokwena in questioning Bafana Bafana and Broos | Goal.com

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Orlando Pirates co-interim head coach Mandla Ncikazi says there is a communication problem between PSL coaches and the Bafana Bafana technical team.

This comes after Vincent Pule picked up an injury while on national duty for South Africa ahead of their two clashes against Ethiopia in the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers earlier this month and the Pirates winger has since been ruled out of action to up to 12 weeks. 

While Bafana head coach Hugo Broos substituted Tshegofatso Mabasa just 35 minutes into their first match against Ethiopia in Bahir Dar as he felt that the Pirates striker was ineffective and he has since struggled to score goals for the Soweto giants. 

Ncikazi has joined Rhulani Mokwena in questioning Broos as the Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach blamed the national team after several Masandawana players picked up injuries while in the Bafana camp.

“The issue of communication with PSL coaches and national team, I don’t want to repeat what has been said by other coaches, but the fact that problems that other clubs are mentioning are also happening at our club just shows you that things are not done correctly,” Ncikazi told the media.

“I’ll give you an example of the previous coach where I was. I met him personally because he came to training to watch our team training session. He discussed things with the technical team and he addressed the players on his expectations.

“I would have expected that the same will continue, but to be honest it has never happened for whatever reason. It becomes very difficult, I have tried to communicate with some members but it should not be done that way.

“It should not be in isolation where a coach from one club must try and connect with the national coach because the structure must inform what are the expectations of the national coach from coaches.”

Ncikazi, who is working alongside fellow Pirates co-interim head coach Fadlu Davids, stressed that there should be a mutual understanding between Bafana and PSL clubs in order for players to avoid injuries.

“It is an area that needs to be ironed out because it will lessen the problems we have currently in terms of injuries of players,” he added. 

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“To give you an example, if we were having a loading session today and one of our players is selected to the national team tomorrow and they have a loading, already on that one, there is a risk of injuries.

“A better understanding and communication between the two parties will help the national team and will also help the clubs so that when our players come back from the national team they are still useful to the team. I think that is highly important but that’s not happening currently.”

Pirates are set to face Congo-Brazzaville side Diables Noirs in the Caf Confederation Cup second round second-leg clash on Sunday.

'SuperSport United have to go out there and dominate Kaizer Chiefs' – Williams

‘SuperSport United have to go out there and dominate Kaizer Chiefs’ – Williams | Goal.com

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SuperSport United captain Ronwen Williams says they aim to dominate their upcoming clash with Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday.

Matsatsantsa are set to welcome Amakhosi at Lucas Moripe Stadium as they look to maintain their unbeaten start to the current PSL campaign.

Chiefs have failed to defeat SuperSport in their last five meetings, but Willians insisted that previous results count for nothing. 

“The records don’t bother me at all. Every game is different – different players and approach,” Williams told the media. 

“But in saying that, it is our home game and we have done well. Last year we lost one game to Golden Arrows at home and we want to keep that going.

“We want to make it a fortress and this season we have kept that good momentum going at home, and that’s the main thing for us – to go out there and dominate.”

Amakhosi are coming into this clash oozing win confidence having thumped Chippa United 4-0 with Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly (brace) scoring for the Soweto giants.

Williams indicated that they have studied the Glamour Boys and that they need to find a way to keep Dolly and Khama Billiat quiet.

“Dolly and Billiat have come alive in the last few weeks, so it is not going to be easy but we are going out there to fight,” he said.

“We will stick to our game plan. We prepared well and we watched their game plan and analysed them. So it is going to be a tough one and a game of small margins.”

The accomplished goalkeeper lauded Chiefs mentor Stuart Baxter as a wonderful coach having worked with him at both SuperSport and Bafana Bafana.

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“It is always going to be a dangerous game. Chiefs are still one of the biggest teams in the country and have a wonderful coach,” he added. 

“I know him very well and it is not going to be easy. They are going to come out there and fight.”

SuperSport are currently placed second on the PSL standings – four points behind leaders, Mamelodi Sundowns, who will be in Caf Champions League action this weekend. 

Dominate Kaizer Chiefs, that's SuperSport United's target – Ronwen Williams

Dominate Kaizer Chiefs, that’s SuperSport United’s target – Ronwen Williams | Goal.com

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SuperSport United captain Ronwen Williams says they aim to “dominate” their upcoming clash with Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday.

Matsatsantsa are set to welcome Amakhosi at Lucas Moripe Stadium as they look to maintain their unbeaten start to the current PSL campaign.

Chiefs have failed to defeat SuperSport in their last five meetings, but Willians insisted that previous results count for nothing. 

“The records don’t bother me at all. Every game is different – different players and approach,” Williams told the media. 

“But in saying that, it is our home game and we have done well. Last year we lost one game to Golden Arrows at home and we want to keep that going.

“We want to make it a fortress and this season we have kept that good momentum going at home, and that’s the main thing for us – to go out there and dominate.”

Amakhosi are coming into this clash oozing win confidence having thumped Chippa United 4-0 with Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly (brace) scoring for the Soweto giants.

Williams indicated that they have studied the Glamour Boys and that they need to find a way to keep Dolly and Khama Billiat quiet.

“Dolly and Billiat have come alive in the last few weeks, so it is not going to be easy but we are going out there to fight,” he said.

“We will stick to our game plan. We prepared well and we watched their game plan and analysed them. So it is going to be a tough one and a game of small margins.”

The accomplished goalkeeper lauded Chiefs mentor Stuart Baxter as a wonderful coach having worked with him at both SuperSport and Bafana Bafana.

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“It is always going to be a dangerous game. Chiefs are still one of the biggest teams in the country and have a wonderful coach,” he added. 

“I know him very well and it is not going to be easy. They are going to come out there and fight.”

SuperSport are currently placed second on the PSL standings – four points behind leaders, Mamelodi Sundowns, who will be in Caf Champions League action this weekend. 

North Africa vs West Africa: Who's made bigger Premier League contribution?

North Africa vs West Africa: Who’s made bigger Prem contribution? | Goal.com

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Having matched Didier Drogba’s African record for goals in the Premier League last weekend, Mohamed Salah now looks set to eclipse it when Liverpool travel to Manchester United on Sunday.

If it now seems inevitable, it is for two reasons.

The first is the simple fact of the Egyptian’s form, and the stratospheric level he is now regularly operating at.

Watching Salah now seems like scampering down the stairs on Christmas morning to check under the tree: there are guaranteed to be treats waiting, some measure of wizardry with which to delight and thrill. It is a wondrous state for a player to be in, and even more so when he knows it himself like the 29-year-old clearly does.

The second is that, in scoring on the Reds’ visit to Old Trafford last season, Salah emphatically ended a personal league hoodoo in away matches against the Red Devils. In hindsight, it looks rather silly, but at the time his poor record in the fixture was a major talking point.

That lingering doubt now dispelled, the stage seems set.

Whenever he does hit 105 however, it will be significant in an even broader context than attaining the record.

As far as African imports go, the Premier League has, since inception, tended to provide the perfect stomping ground for West African players.

This is borne out by the rest of the African goalscorer top five – all are native to countries from that one region – but even beyond the forwards, it is footballers from West Africa that have fitted in most readily.

Think the likes of Michael Essien, Yaya Toure, Joseph Yobo, Kolo Toure, Abdoulaye Meite and Mikel John Obi, to name very few.

The reason for this is two-fold – both cultural and economic.

The Premier League has always prided itself on a hard, fast playing style based around physicality. As an idea, this is very much in keeping with the basis of football in West Africa; broadly speaking, North African football has been defined more by its technical aspects (in part due to proximity to Europe), while in East and Southern Africa football is not quite as popular, and lower population densities do not foster the sort of fierce competitive outlook that is found in West Africans.

Similarly, socio-economic factors come into play, especially in contrast to North African nations.

With corruption and a lack of infrastructure undermining local leagues in West Africa, those nations are compelled to export their talent for development.

As a result, there is a clear disparity both in quality and financial muscle between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa in the club game and, as an extension of this dynamic, less of an imperative on North African players to seek transfers to Europe.

This has fed into an insularity that has to this point limited the footprint of that region in the Premier League. Colonial and migratory patterns have seen players of Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian descent proliferate in France, but the Premier League has mostly remained under-explored territory.

There have been exceptions of course.

Noureddine Naybet had a brief but well-reviewed stint with Tottenham, Mustapha Hadji became a Coventry icon on the back of five years, Mido’s headstrong ways gave many English managers conniptions for close to a decade and Radhi Jaidi was a crucial part of Sam Allardyce’s muscular Bolton Wanderers outfit in the mid-noughties.

However, these names pale in comparison, both in terms of longevity and success, to some of the stalwarts from West Africa who have graced the Premier League – the list of Nigerians alone almost comfortably outstrips that of all the North African nations put together, and that’s not just in terms of quantity.

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The trend is starting to turn, however.

This is especially so in the past half-decade: Riyad Mahrez has won multiple Premier League titles with Leicester City and Manchester City, Ahmed Elmohamady has been a part of the furniture at Aston Villa since 2017 (and at Sunderland and Hull City for even longer) and Mohamed Elneny has been at Arsenal since 2015, claiming multiple FA Cups.

Salah eclipsing Drogba’s record would not only confirm this sea change but would also signpost the Premier League as a prime destination for the next wave of North African footballing talent.