Thursday,14 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1288, (24 - 30 March 2016)
Thursday,14 December, 2017
Issue 1288, (24 - 30 March 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Forward the four

Abeer Anwar reports on a quartet of Egyptian football club victories in Africa

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Egyptian arch-rivals Ahly and Zamalek have gone through to the CAF Champions League round of 16 while Maqqasa and Enppi reached the same round in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Martin Jol, Ahly’s newly imported coach, led the club to their second-leg victory 2-0 at home against Recreativo Libolo of Angola thanks to an early goal from Ramadan Sobhi and a late insurance strike by John Antwi. Dutchman Jol managed Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in the Premier League, then took a two-year break from football before joining Ahly last month.

Record eight-time champions Ahly qualified to the second round after winning 2-0 on aggregate after a goalless first leg last weekend. They will meet Young Africans of Tanzania in April.

“I’m satisfied with my team’s performance and the result,” Jol said. “We missed a number of chances and definitely deserved to win today. The first leg result was tricky and we had to keep a clean sheet which we managed to do. Recreativo do Libolo are a very well organised and talented team. I also applaud our goalkeeper Ahmed Adel who saved a couple of dangerous chances that would have complicated our mission. We have to work on solving the problem of missing chances, but I’m satisfied with my players.”

“Ahly deserved to win because their players used their enormous experience,” Recreativo do Libolo’s head coach Joao Costa said. “We made a mistake and they scored an early goal. After that we missed a lot of chances and they made good use of a counter attack and finished the game. We created many chances over both legs but Ahly used theirs and won. I’m satisfied with my team’s performance.”

Former Birmingham City and Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish guided Zamalek 2-0 in Cairo over Union Douala of Cameroon.

Five-time champions Zamalek advanced 3-0 on aggregate having won 1-0 in Central Africa six days ago and play Club Africain of Tunisia or Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria in April.

Mahmoud ‘Kahraba’ Abdel-Moneim broke the second-leg deadlock during the opening half and Ahmed Tawfik added a late second goal.

Other former champions to secure last-16 places in the Champions League were Enyimba of Nigeria, Etoile Sahel of Tunisia and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

Enyimba fell 2-1 against Vital’O of Burundi in Bujumbura, but a 5-1 first-leg triumph ensured their advance.

Wydad also lost 2-1 away to CNAPS Sport of Madagascar in Mahajanga but also booked a final qualifying round slot on a 6-3 aggregate.   

Second-half goals from Ahmed Akaichi and Drame Michailou gave Etoile a 2-0 victory over Moroccan visitors Olympique Khouribga in the Mediterranean resort Sousse. They qualified 3-1 on aggregate and face Enyimba next in a repeat of the 2004 final won on penalties by the Nigerians.

Al Merrikh of Sudan won 1-0 over Warri Wolves of Nigeria and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa and Young Africans drew to advance.

Two goals up from the first leg, Sundowns went further ahead through an early Hlompho Kekana shot and AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville salvaged a 1-1 second-leg draw through a late Ntela Kalema penalty.

Young Africans advanced despite being held 1-1at home by Rwandans APR, who trailed 2-1 from the first meeting. Donald Ngoma levelled after Fiston Nkinzingabo put the visitors ahead.

Egyptian side Maqqasa reached the round of 16 in their African Confederation Cup debut despite losing 1-0 away to DR Congo’s CS Don Bosco. Maqqasa advanced with a 3-2 aggregate win following their 3-1 first-leg victory.

Fellow Egyptian side Enppi took on Ivory Coast’s Africa Sports in the Confederation Cup later on Sunday, winning 4-1 in the second leg match after winning the first leg 2-0 away from home to qualify 6-1 on aggregate.

However, Enppi coach Hamada Sedki said the return leg was difficult “but we had the upper hand from the beginning.

“Our first goal was an early one, only five minutes into the first leg. Africa Sports is a vastly experienced side .We played very well in Abidjan and so we did in Cairo.”

Sedki won the CAF Champions League as a player with Cairo giants Ahly in 1987 and was a member of the coaching staff of the legendary Hassan Shehata when he guided Egypt to a hat-trick of AFCON titles between 2006 and 2010.

The Enppi coach told cafonline that his team was boosted by the return of some key players who missed the first leg. “Veteran goalkeeper Mohamed Abdel-Monsef didn’t make the trip to Abidjan for personal reasons. Skipper Rami Sabri and midfielder Mahmoud Touba were injured.”

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