Esperance Fail To Win Third Consecutive CAF Champions League Title

Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed (C-R) presents a red card to an Esperance’s midfielder Mohamed Ben Romdhane (C-L) during the first leg of the CAF Champions League Quarter-final football match between Egypt’s Zamalek and Tunisia’s Esperance at the Cairo International Stadium in the capital on February 28, 2020.


Tunisian club Esperance this weekend became the latest victims of a jinx that has prevented any club winning the CAF Champions League three consecutive times.

Zamalek of Egypt defeated the 2018 and 2019 trophy-holders 3-2 on aggregate in a quarter-final after losing the second leg 1-0 in Tunis Friday.

Esperance joined Al Ahly of Egypt and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo (twice each) and Enyimba of Nigeria as back-to-back title winners who could not complete a treble.

The Tunisians, who also lost to Zamalek in the one-off CAF Super Cup match last month, were hit by a series of suspensions before the second leg of the Champions League clash.

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Coach Moine Chaabani and his deputy, Mejdi Traoui, were banned for four matches and fined for aggressive behaviour, offensive language and threats after a 3-1 first-leg loss in Cairo.

Captain and center-back Khalil Chemmam received a six-match ban and a $40,000 (35,500 euro) fine for spitting at the Moroccan match officials and using offensive language.

Midfielder Abdelraouf Benguit got a four-match suspension and a $20,000 fine for using offensive language against the referees.

Besides the individual sanctions, Esperance were fined $10,000 because their supporters threw flares at the Cairo International Stadium.

Failed CAF Champions League treble bids:


Mazembe (lost 5-3 on aggregate to Ismailia of Egypt in final)


Enyimba (eliminated after finishing third in Group A)


Ahly (lost 3-1 on aggregate to Etoile Sahel of Tunisia in final)


Mazembe (disqualified after round of 32 for fielding ineligible player)


Ahly (lost 4-2 on aggregate to Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya in round of 16)


Esperance (lost 3-2 on aggregate to Zamalek of Egypt in quarter-finals)


DR Congo’s Mazembe Set CAF Champions League Record

DR Congo's Mazembe Set CAF Champions League Record


Democratic Republic of Congo outfit TP Mazembe crushed Tunisian visitors Club Africain 8-0 Saturday to achieve a record winning margin for a CAF Champions League group match. 

The five-time African champions overtook the benchmark set 18 years ago by ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast when they overwhelmed CR Belouizdad of Algeria 7-0 in Abidjan.

Moroccan club Difaa el Jadida hold the record for a single-match winning margin at any stage of the Champions League after overwhelming Benfica of Guinea-Bissau 10-0 last season.

Mazembe ran riot in southern city Lubumbashi just 14 days after suffering a three-goal hiding away to surprise Group C pacesetters CS Constantine of Algeria.

Constantine top the table with six points, Mazembe have three and Club Africain none in a section reduced to three clubs after Ismaily of Egypt were disqualified for crowd violence.

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If Mazembe avoid defeat away to former champions Club Africain in Tunis on February 12 they and Constantine will secure quarter-finals places in the elite African club competition.

The home side netted four times in each half with Kevin Mondeka, Jackson Muleka and veteran Tresor Mputu scoring two each and Mika Miche and Elia Meschak one apiece.

Mazembe are among the favourites to win the Champions League this season along with trophy-holders Esperance of Tunisia, Al Ahly of Egypt and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

Wydad became the first team to win away in Group A with a first-half penalty converted by Mohamed Nahiri earning a 1-0 victory over lacklustre Lobi Stars of Nigeria in Enugu.

– Penalty appeal –

The Moroccans had a genuine penalty appeal rejected by the DR Congo referee before Mohamed Ounajem was fouled and Nahiri sent Olufemi Kayode the wrong way on 19 minutes.

Ahmed Tagnaouti of Wydad was the busier goalkeeper and did well to get down and push away a Yaya Kone header before half-time on a scorching afternoon in southeastern Nigeria.

Wydad squandered a chance to increase their lead midway through the second half when Kayode saved another penalty, this time taken by Ounajem.

Lobi offered little going forward and when they occasionally threatened, Tagnaouti was there to thwart them and ensure the Moroccans retained their advantage.

Mamelodi Sundowns and Wydad have six points with the South Africans occupying first place on head-to-head records having won 2-1 when the clubs met in Pretoria last month.

ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast and Lobi have three points each and need matchday 4 wins on February 12 against the teams they were beaten by this weekend to get back in contention.

Guinean outfit Horoya AC were rewarded for spending a week in Zimbabwe preparing to play FC Platinum when they won 1-0 thanks to a 51st-minute penalty from Marius Assoko in Bulawayo.

Orlando Pirates of South African and Esperance, who clash later Saturday in Soweto, and Horoya have four points each and Platinum just one.

Record eight-time champions and Group D leaders Ahly will also be in action later Saturday, at home to Simba SC from Tanzania in Mediterranean city Alexandria.


CAF Champions League: MFM To Face Real Bamako

Draw for 2018 CAF Champions League preliminary and first rounds made in Cairo Wednesday:

Preliminary round

Saint George (ETH) v Wau Salaam (SSD)

CNaPS Sport (MAD) v KCCA (UGA)

Zanaco (ZAM) v Armed Forces (GAM)

Bantu (LES) v Mbabane Swallows (SWZ)

Stade Malien (MLI) v Williamsville (CIV)

Al Tahaddy (LBA) v Aduana Stars (GHA)

Entente Setif (ALG) v Olympic Real Bangui (CAR)

Kadiogo (BUR) v Mounana (GAB)

Real Bamako (MLI) v MFM (NGR)

Otoho (CGO) v Mouloudia Alger (ALG)

AS FAN (NIG) v Horoya (GUI)

Generation Foot (SEN) v Misr Lel-Makkasa (EGY)

Young Africans (TAN) v Saint Louis (SEY)

Township Rollers (BOT) v Al Merrikh (SUD)

Gor Mahia (KEN) v Leones Vegetarianos (GEQ)

Concorde (MTN) v Esperance (TUN)

Plateau Utd (NGR) v Eding Sport (CMR)

Leopards (CGO) v Port (TOG)

LISCR (LBR) v Al Hilal (SUD)

JKU (ZAN) v Zesco Utd (ZAM)

Benin champions v ASEC Mimosas (CIV)

Ngaya (COM) v Songo (MOZ)

Difaa el Jadidi (MAR) v Benfica (GNB)

V Club (COD) v Mighty Wanderers (MAW)

Primeiro Agosto (ANG) v Platinum (ZIM)

Wits (RSA) v Pamplemousses (MRI)

Rayon Sports (RWA) v LLB Academic (BDI)

First legs: Feb 9–11, second: Feb 16–18

First round

George/Wau v CNaPS/KCCA

Zanaco/Forces v Bantu/Swallows

Wydad Casablanca (MAR, holders) v Malien/Williamsville

Tahaddy/Aduana v Setif/Bangui

Al Ahly (EGY) v Kadiogo/Mounana

Bamako/MFM v Otoho/Alger

FAN/Horoya v Generation/Makkasa

Young Africans/Louis v Rollers/Merrikh

Gor/Leones v Concorde/Esperance

Etoile Sahel (TUN) v Plateau/Eding

Leopards/Port v LISCR/Hilal

JKU/Zesco v Benin/ASEC

TP Mazembe (COD) v Ngaya/Songo

Jadidi/Benfica v V Club/Wanderers

Primeiro/Platinum v Wits/Pamplemousses

Rayon/Academic v Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)

First legs: Mar 9-11, second: Mar 16-18

Note: first round winners qualify for Champions League group stage and firsr round losers enter CAF Confederation Cup


CAF Champions League: Nigeria Put Faith In MFM FC

Mountain of Fire and Miracles Football Club are unlikely to win the 2018 CAF Champions League, but they boast the most eye-catching name among the 58 contenders.

Known as MFM FC in football circles, the Lagos-based team are funded by the popular pentecostal christian organisation Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries.

Nigeria are allocated two places on merit in the elite African club competition and they will be filled by national champions Plateau United and runners-up MFM.

The draw for the preliminary and first rounds of the Champions League will be made in Cairo on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Confederation of African Football.

Mountain of Fire and Miracles, who play in a modest 5,200-seat stadium, boast one of the most striking football club names in Africa.

Others include 11 Men in Flight of Swaziland, Mysterious Dwarfs of Ghana, Chicken Inn of Zimbabwe, Invincible XI of Liberia and Naughty Boys of Botswana.

Nigerians hope Plateau and MFM can go far in a competition where many clubs from the African football powerhouse have made embarrassingly early exits.

Last year, Enugu Rangers and Rivers United failed to get past the first round and into the group phase with the latter surrendering a three-goal first-leg advantage.

Enyimba are the only Nigerian club to win the Champions League, lifting the trophy in 2003 and staging a successful defence the following year.

Alongside record eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, they are the only three clubs to win back-to-back Champions League titles.

Ahly and five-time title-holders Mazembe are among the 58 entrants in a competition won for a second time by Wydad Casablanca of Morocco this year.

They edged Ahly 1-0 in the second leg of the final in Casablanca after exceeding expectations in Alexandria by forcing a 1-1 draw.

Esperance and Etoile Sahel of Tunisia, Entente Setif and Mouloudia Alger of Algeria, ASEC of the Ivory Coast, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa and V Club of DR Congo are other former champions in the field.

AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville, Al Merrikh of Sudan, Gor Mahia of Kenya, Horoya of Guinea and Stade Malien of Mali have won second-tier CAF competitions.

The two-leg preliminary round ties are scheduled for February and the first round for March with the opening group games during May.

It requires 14 or 16 matches to become African champions with the rewards including a $2.5 million (about 2.1 million euro) prize and qualification for the FIFA Club World Cup.


Ahly Score Record Six Goals To Reach CAF Champions League Final

Al-Ahly supporters cheer during the CAF Champions League semi-final football match between Al-Ahly vs Etoile du Sahel at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria on October 22, 2017. STRINGER / AFP

Al Ahly of Egypt became the first club to score six goals in a CAF Champions League semi-final match as they crushed Etoile Sahel of Tunisia 6-2 in Alexandria Sunday to reach the title decider.

The record eight-time champions qualified 7-4 on aggregate to face Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the two-leg final with the first match in Egypt next weekend.

After Etoile established a 2-1 first-leg lead in Tunisia last month, the return match at the 85,000-seat Borg El Arab Stadium was expected to an equally tight affair.

But it took Ahly just two minutes to grab the lead at home with Tunisian Ali Maaloul slamming a free-kick past experienced goalkeeper Ayman Mathlouthi.

Moroccan Walid Azaro headed two goals off crosses to earn Ahly a 3-0 half-time advantage and he completed a hat-trick just three minutes into the second half.

Rami Bedoui pulled one goal back for rattled one-time Champions League title-holders Etoile before rampant Ahly scored twice more.

Hamdi Nagguez conceded an own-goal and Rami Rabia made it 6-1 just past the hour mark to give Ahly a place in the record books.

Iheb Msakni scored a second Etoile goal a minute from time, but it was irrelevant as Ahly had already booked a place in the final.

Achraf Bencharki bagged a brace as Wydad defeated USM Alger of Algeria 3-1 in Casablanca Saturday after a goalless first leg last month.

The elite African club competition was known as the African Cup of Champions Clubs from 1964 until 1997 when the name was changed to the CAF Champions League.


Enugu Rangers, Rivers United Advance In CAF Champions League

Federation Cup, enugu rangers, Rangers, Imama Amapakabo, NPFLTwo of Nigeria’s representatives at the CAF Champions League, Enugu Rangers and Rivers United, are through to the first round of the competition.

Rangers on Sunday evening held visiting J.S Saoura of Algeria to a goalless draw to advance on the away goal rule.

The Nigerian southeast-based club had held their visitors to a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

The Nigeria Professional Football League defending champions will face Egyptian side, Zamalek in the next round.

Similarly, Rivers United edged out Mali’s A.S Real Bamako 4-0 to advance on a four zero aggregate.

The Nigerian said will face Sudanese club, Al-Marrikh in the first round of the competition.

Udoh Celebrates CAF Champions League Top Scorer Feat

Mfon Udoh, Eyimba, CAF Champions LeagueEnyimba Striker, Mfon Udoh, is happy to emerge the top scorer in the just concluded 2016 CAF Champions League.

He also expressed delight at simultaneously being shortlisted for the African Player of the Year (based in Africa) award.

The footballer netted nine goals ahead of Wydad’s Reda Hajhouj who had six goals to emerge top scorer in the CAF Champions League.

The Peoples’ Elephant had struggled in the group stage and managed just a win over eventual champions, Mamelodi Sundowns.

Udoh wants to savour the moment just like two years ago when he emerged the highest goals scorer in the Nigerian local league, becoming the first player to score 23 goals in a single season in Nigeria.

He is also the first to score over 35 league goals in two seasons in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Enugu Rangers Win First Football League Title In 32 Years

Enugu-RangersEnugu Rangers have won the Nigeria Professional Football League for the first time in 32 years.

The flying antelopes on Sunday evening beat visiting El-Kanemi Warriors by 4-0 at a fully packed Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu.

Chisom Egbuchulam opened scoring just after three minutes from the penalty box. An El-Kanemi team member in the defence line had touched the ball with his hand.

Pressure mounted and Osas Okoro made it two just before half time.

Egbuchulam got the third and fourth goals in the 64th and 94th minutes to hand rangers the title.

The new NPFL champions will get a CAF Champions League ticket for next season and 40 million Naira from the League Management Company for their efforts.

It was the Coal City side’s seventh top-flight title gotten on pretty 63 points, three ahead of closest challengers, Rivers United.

After the club’s heroic performance, the team’s happy head coach, Imama Amapakabo, could not hold his joy.

Amapakabo said he was excited winning the top-flight title in his first stint as head coach of the Enugu outfit.

“It’s unfortunate that the whole season campaign has to end on somehow sad note with the last minute injury on substitute, Ifeanyi Egwim.

“However, we are thankful to God that Enugu Rangers are champions of the 2015/16 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

“This glorious performance happened after anxious waiting for a whole 32 years.

“The players have been exceptionally wonderful from start to finish and they truly imbibe the catchword campaign ‘believe’.

“I’m excited beyond word and need to sleep and wake up as well as pinch myself severally to be sure that what is going on at the moment is not mere dream but reality.

“I know we are champions after the hard fought win at Ikorodu United but I wanted us to be pronounced officially as champions after the final day clash against El Kanemi Warriors.

“I’m happy winning the top-flight title in my first stint as coach of Enugu Rangers.

“I want to sleep over what is going on right now perhaps when I wake up the celebration will start in full swing,” he told Super Sports.

CAF Continental Competitions Face Major Reforms

CAFEffective 2017, the CAF Champions League and the Confederation Cup will see major new reforms.

Sixteen clubs divided into four groups of four will participate at the group stages instead of the current eight at the pool stage.

The new format was one of the key highlights of the speech by CAF President, Issa Hayatou, in his address at the 38th CAF Ordinary General Assembly held on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Hayatou also unveiled the CAF’s progression in the wake of the new reforms implemented by FIFA, now at its implementation phase.

Etoile And Enyimba To Play On Wednesday

EnyimbaThe return leg clash of the CAF Champions League between Tunisian club side, Etoile Du Sahel and Enyimba of Aba will be played on Wednesday in Sousse.

Enyimba won the first leg in Port Harcourt 3-0 courtesy of a hat-trick by Mfon Udoh.

The seven-time Nigeria champions will train under floodlights in Sousse on Tuesday night.

The overall winners of this tie will march on to the group stage of the Champions League, while the losers drop down to the second-tier Confederation Cup.

The game has been fixed for 6pm Nigerian time.

Enyimba advanced to the final round of qualifiers 6-3 on aggregate at the expense of Vital Ó of Burundi.

Despite losing 2-1 in the second leg, the Elephants of Aba progressed having defeated the Burundians 5-1 in Aba.

NPFL: Ikorodu United, Sunshine Stars React To Goalless Draw

NPFL-Ikorodu-United-Sunshine-Stars-Eyimba FCNigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) newcomers, Ikorodu United, are confident they will bounce back from their poor run of results.

The Lagos based team, who are bottom of the table with six points from 11 matches, were held to a goalless draw by Sunshine Stars of Akure in their Matchday 11 clash at the Onikan Stadium.

While the team’s technical adviser looked forward with hope that things would change, midfielder, Augustine Agbane was reflecting on the game. He said that they gave their best but luck was not on their side.

On his side, Sunshine Stars Head Coach, Solomon Ogbeide, said that he was impressed with the away draw against Ikorodu United.

Sunshine Stars are 18th in the NPFL with eight points from nine games and Coach Ogbeide said that the team have shown commitment that they could fight for a continental ticket.

Meanwhile, the technical adviser of Enyimba FC has cautioned his side not to let down their guard.

The team’s coach asked them to expect a tough fight back from Etoile Du Sahel despite their 3-0 advantage in the CAF Champions League.

Sensational striker, Mfon Udoh, was the hero of the day as his team sank the Tunisian side at the Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium in Port Harcourt, south-south Nigeria.

Udoh expressed confidence that the two-time African Champions would seal their victory in Tunisia.

CAF Champions League: Enyimba Advance To Final Qualifying Round

Champions LeagueIn the CAF Champions League, Nigeria Premier League champions, Enyimba have advanced to the final round of qualifiers.

Despite losing 2-1 in the second leg to Vital Ó of Burundi, the Elephants of Aba progressed 6-3 on aggregate.

Ikechukwu Ibenegbu scored for Paul Aigbogun’s men in the 28th minute but went on to concede two goals in the game.

Enyimba need to cross the next hurdle that comes in order to make it to the money spinning stage of the CAF Champions League.

Mixed Fortunes

Meanwhile, Warri Wolves have crashed out of the CAF Champions League after failing to overturn a first leg deficit against El Merreikh of Sudan.

Peter Nieketen’s boys eventually lost the tie 2-0 on aggregate.

Nasarawa United also tasted the bitter pill of defeat in the CAF Confederation Cup after losing 4-1 to Algeria’s CS Constantine.

With this result the solid miners have been shown the exit door as the tie ended 4-2 on aggregate in favour of their opponents.