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CAF Conf Cup: Raja, Kabylie Take Impressive Records Into Final

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Raja Casablanca of Morocco and JS Kabylie of Algeria take impressive CAF Confederation Cup unbeaten records into the final in Benin economic capital Cotonou on Saturday.

Neither team have lost since the play-offs last February in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.

Raja have gone 10 matches since an away defeat, at US Monastir of Tunisia in a tie they won via a penalty shootout.

Kabylie have an even better record, going 11 matches unbeaten after losing at former title-holders Stade Malien of Mali in a tie settled by the away goals rule.

Raja were particularly impressive in the group phase that followed the play-offs, winning all six matches without conceding.

Kabylie topped their mini-league, which ended with the shock elimination of 2020 Confederation Cup winners Renaissance Berkane of Morocco.

The Green Eagles of Raja won easily in the quarter-finals and narrowly in the semi-finals and the Canaries of Kabylie did it the other way round by scraping into the last four, where they cruised to victory.

So, the stage is set for a close final at the Stade de L’Amitie with Raja seeking an eighth CAF title and Kabylie a seventh.

Raja last succeeded in 2018, edging V Club from the Democratic Republic of Congo when the Confederation Cup final was still played over two legs.

It has been 19 years since Kabylie last raised a CAF trophy, overcoming Tonnerre Yaounde of Cameroon 4-1 overall in the final of the CAF Cup, one of two competitions that morphed into the Confederation Cup.

Both teams have potential match-winners in  Ben Malango of Raja and Redha Bensayah of Kabylie.

Physically imposing Democratic Republic of Congo-born forward Malango is the leading Raja scorer in the Confederation Cup with five goals, two less than the Golden Boot frontrunner, Cameroonian Lambert Araina.

Soufiane Rahimi, voted the outstanding player when Morocco won the African Nations Championship last February in Cameroon, is another major threat having notched four goals.

The leading Kabylie scorer, captain Bensayah, has also netted five times. Defender Badreddine Souyad comes next with four goals, thanks in part to his penalty taking.

Both coaches, Tunisian Laassad Chabbi of Raja and France-born Denis Lavagne of Kabylie, are seeking first CAF triumphs.

Should Raja succeed, they will become the first Moroccan club to win the Confederation Cup twice. They are one of five teams from the country to have won the competition once, along with FAR Rabat, FUS Rabat, Maghreb Fes and Berkane .

No Algerian club has won the competition with Entente Setif and Mouloudia Bejaia coming closest by finishing runners-up.

This will be the first CAF final staged at a neutral venue with Champions League winners Al Ahly of Egypt and Berkane playing at home when they triumphed last season in the first single-match deciders.

Benin authorities say that, owing to coronavirus restrictions, the crowd will be limited to 12,000 in a recently refurbished stadium that can accommodate 20,000.

Source: GhanaArticles.com/Pulse Ghana

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African Sports

Nigerian Football Fetes Ahmed Musa On His 100th Super Eagles Cap

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Nigerian Football Fetes Ahmed Musa On His 100th Super Eagles Cap

Ahmed Musa was still soaking everything in when his teammates surrounded him to celebrate his 100th cap for the Super Eagles.

Musa had just completed his 100th Super Eagles cap following his 73rd-minute appearance in Nigeria’s 2-1 win over Cape Verde in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday, September 7, 2019.

The 28-year-old is the third player in history to hit 100 caps for the Super Eagles, joining former captains Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyeama.

After the game, the players quickly surrounded Musa to congratulate him before assistant coach Yobo hurled him on his shoulders.

Players like Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi and William Troost-Ekong, who were not around, took to social media to congratulate the Super Eagles captain.

In reward for his 100th cap, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick announced a N10M gift to Ahmed Musa and revealed that it will be the norm for players who achieve the feat.

In turn, Ahmed Musa promised to give half of the money to his teammates for their support.

For me, I’m very proud to reach the 100 cap because its very important to me,” Musa said while looking forward to getting more caps with the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) coming.

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He also paid tribute to Yobo and Enyeama and thanked them for supporting him when he first joined the Super Eagles.

More are coming; for me, I want to break the record,” he also said.

Ahmed Musa is just one game from equaling 101 caps for Nigeria held by Yobo and Enyeama.

Musa made his Super Eagles debut in August 2010, in a 2012 AFCON qualifier.

He scored his first goal of his 15 for the Super Eagles came in an international friendly against Kenya in March 2011.

The forward was part of the team that won the AFCON title for the Super Eagles in South Africa in 2013.

He has played in two AFCON and two FIFA World Cups and is Nigeria’s highest scorer in that tournament with four goals.

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Source: GhArticles.com

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African Sports

CAF Appeals To British Gov’t To Release African Stars

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CAF Appeals To British Gov't To Release African Stars

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has appealed to the British government to allow African players to travel for next month’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

After Liverpool blocked Mohamed Salah’s invitation to Egypt’s squad, the Premier League announced that other clubs will not release their players to travel to red-list countries due to fears of the coronavirus.

However, Fifa responded to the statement with a personal message from President Gianni Infantino to British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson on Wednesday.

The African football body has also asked the British government to grant exemption to the continent’s stars for the second round of the World Cup qualifiers that will start in September.

“Caf has noted the current circumstances in place in Britain regarding the lack of sporting exemptions for players returning from several African countries after the international window next week,” read the statement on its website.

“Caf, acting on behalf of all African Member Associations, African players and fans, has urged the British Government to urgently provide the required exemptions to enable African players to compete for their countries in the upcoming Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers.

“Caf notes that similar exemptions were granted by the British Government to enable the attendance of delegations and officials, amongst others, at the finals of the European Championship held less than two months ago.”

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Caf also added that the situation of African countries in the red-list is not as serious as other foreign nations.

“It is further noted that the circumstances in the African countries on the red list in many cases are in fact less severe than other countries not currently on this list or for which exemptions were previously provided,” it continued.

“Furthermore, Caf would like to reiterate that the upcoming matches will be delivered under the strict protocols developed by Fifa and applied across the world, as was the case in previous windows and continental tournaments successfully delivered without any incidents.

“These protocols have now proven beyond a doubt that they mitigate the risks involved, reflecting the success of commensurate protocols applied domestically in England and other parts of the world.

“In light of the above, Caf has appealed as a matter of urgency, to the Football Association (FA) and the British Government that the same treatment previously applied to Europe now be extended to Africa under the principles of solidarity and equal treatment.”

Source: GhArticles.com/Allfootball.com

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African Sports

Botswana Olympic Medal Winners Gifted Houses

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Botswana Olympic Medal Winners Gifted Houses

Botswana has given each member of the country’s Olympic bronze-winning relay team a two-bedroom house.

The 4x400m team took Botswana’s only podium spot at the just-concluded Tokyo Games.

It’s the country’s second-ever Olympic medal, having won a silver in the London 2012 games.

Botswana gifts houses to Olympic bronze medal winners

The relay team was made up of Isaac Makwala, Bayapo Ndori, Zibane Ngozi and Baboloki Thebe.

Two other members of the relay team, Leungo Scotch and Anthony Pasela, will also each be awarded a house.

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Source: Gharticles.com/BBC.com

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