Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1183, (6 - 12 February 2014)
Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Issue 1183, (6 - 12 February 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Champs of CHAN

Libya are the new crowned champions of the 2014 Orange African Nations Champions (CHAN) in the tournament held in Cape Town, South Africa

Al-Ahram Weekly

The Libyans claimed their title after beating favourites Ghana 4-3 on penalties following the match’s end at 0-0 after the game was taken to extra time in the final match. The Libyans won 4-3 in a victory that meant a great deal to the Libyan team, who finally managed to get their own back after losing (7-6 on penalties) to Ghana 32 years ago in the AFCON final.

Ghanaian goalkeeper Stephen Adams saved two spot kicks from Mohamed El-Gadi and Abdel-Salam Omar to tie the first five kicks at 3-3 and trigger sudden death penalties. Ahmed El-Trbi scored the sixth penalty for Libya before Joshua Tijani missed his for Ghana to spark celebrations from the Mediterranean Knights of Libya.

The final match of CHAN, South Africa 2014 witnessed a high spectator turn out that included CAF President Issa Hayatou and his invited guest FIFA President Sepp Blatter. It was a lively and competitive match from first whistle with both sides eager to open the scoring but clear-cut scoring opportunities were few and far between.

Twenty-two minutes into the match, Libya’s Faisal Ali received a yellow card in a challenge on Mohamed Mahfud as the game opened up and the crowd bayed for more of sheer entertainment. Ghana’s midfield was stringing some shorts passes with Abraham Attobrah at the heart of their creative play as he linked up with Seidu Bansey, Joshua Tijani, captain Jordan Opoku and Sulley Mohammed to give the Black Stars territorial advantage.

The Libyan defence anchored by captain Ali Salama held firm and whatever went past goal-minder Mohamed Abdaula was dealt with. Ghana finished the first half in ascendancy but the scoreboard remained blank.

Twenty-seven minutes into play, some neat exchanges allowed Theophilus Anobaah to turn inside the box but Ahmed Trbi recovered in time to stop a shot on goal as Ghana came close again. At the other end El-Mutasem Abu Shnaf failed to keep his short low and on target after working his way to the edge of the Ghanaian penalty box.

In the second half, Libya pushed more bodies upfront but it was Ghanaian substitute Yahaya Mohamed who came closest to breaking the deadlock with an attempted back kick. He did not quite manage to connect and Ahmed Al-Maghasi cleared the danger. The goal remained elusive and into extra time it went. Abu Shnaf’s header from El-Mehdi El-Houni sailed centimetres over the cross bar. Sulley Mohamed saw his effort trickle past the post as Ghana came agonisingly close. Stephen Adams saved a goal-bound effort from Libyan substitute Muataz Fadel and then it was time for penalty shoot-outs.

Nigeria, the Super Eagles, clinched third place in the CHAN tournament after beating a 10-man Zimbabwe 1-0 at the same Cape Town stadium. The play-off match was played before the final match.

With very little incentive to play for, the match saw little creativity and when Zimbabwe Warriors were reduced to 10 men in the 17th minute, many predicted a glut of goals. But some tight Zimbabwe defense and reckless shooting by Nigeria saw the Super Eagles scrapping home by a single goal, which came late into the match.

There was little action until the 7th minute when Abubacar Ibrahim received a yellow card when he was adjudged to have dived in the penalty area, though replays showed he had been clipped by Milton Ncube. Both teams lacked the initiative, although the Super Eagles looked a bit sharper and created the early openings.

Zimbabwe saw a turn for the worse when Masimba Mambare was shown a straight red card by referee Victor Gomes in the 17th minute for a reckless lunge on the Nigerian keeper Chigozie Agbim, though the decision looked a trifle too harsh. Abdullah Shehu then got a feel of Zimbabwe’s robust tackling and had to receive treatment for a few minutes off the pitch.

In the 73rd minute, Chigova was shown the yellow card for time wasting as he continued to go down with injuries. Christantus Ejike then waltzed his way past the Zimbabwe defense in the 78th minute but his angled shot was saved by Chigova. Moments later, Ibrahim had another shot, which did not trouble Chigova much as the big keeper literally kept Zimbabwe in the match. On the 83rd minute, Kudakwashe Mahachi escaped the Super Eagles defense, but the angle was too tight to beat Agbim.

Something had to give and it came in the 85th minute when Chigova was finally beaten with a smart header from Obiozor following some good work on the right to secure 1-0 for Nigeria and the third place position.

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