Voice of Sport

Allan Wanga Al Merreikh hero in Omdurman, but scourge of devastated Azam

Eight of 19 Cecafa region clubs survive a rousing preliminary round of two Africa club competitions, including Kenya’s Gor Mahia who staged an escape away in Madagascar


ALLAN Wanga of Kenya grabbed regional headlines with his last-gasp headed goal that put Sudan giants Al Merreikh in the next stage of the [Africa] Champions League in a fiery tie with ambitious Tanzania champions Azam in Sudan on Sunday.

Regional Cecafa [Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations] teams battled for their lives in both the Champions League and the CAF Confed Cup, and in the end eight [8] or 19 teams involved the preliminary round survived.

Quality

Al Merreikh v Azam was seen as a clash of quality thrown in too early in the competition and sadly one of them had to go. Azam won the first leg at their Chamazi complex outside Dar es Salaam 2-0 two weeks ago. The return before 45,000 at Al Merreikh Stadium in Omdurman, across the River Nile from Khartoum, was an extra-ordinary, extremely nervous affair.

First the home club blocked television “live” broadcast, prompting protests from Azam that the hosts did not wish any underhand maneouvres viewed on camera. After taking a 1-0 lead, the hosts were awarded a penalty which they missed. And then Al Merreikh scored the crucial two goals in dying minutes of the match.

Praise

After Al Merreikh went 2-0 in the 85th minute, Wanga the Kenya striker scored the qualifying third two minutes inside added time, a glorious header that earned him rapturous praise.

Wanga, who joined Merreikh last June from Kenya’s AFC Leopards, continued being a Merreikh hero. Last year he scored the winning goal for Merreikh in Kigali, Rwanda [agains APR in the Final], to give the Omdurman club their first Cecafa Kagame Cup championship in 20 years [previous last one in 1994]. Since moving to Sudan, he has scored many crucial goals for Merreikh, including in the Sudanese Cup.

Higher

This time his praise grows even higher because it is the first time in three years that the club is going past the preliminary round of the Champions League. Last year they fell in the opening round to Uganda’s Kampala Capital City Authority [KCCA].

Azam’s reaction to the outcome in Omdurman was that of outrage and suspicion over many conspiracy theories. They said they were completely dissatisfied with the performance of Zambian referees Wellington Kaoma, Romeo Kasengele and Amos Nanga and the fact that their selection reeked bias as it was done by a Sudan football top brass, Magdi Shams El Din, chairman of the CAF [Confederation of African Football] Referees’ Committee.

Coach sacked

However, Azam may also have laid blame on their Cameroonian coach, Joseph Omog who, and his Kenyan assistant Ibrahim Shikanda, were instantly sacked on arriving back in Dar es Salaam. Omog, who guided Congo [Brazzaville] club AC Leopards to the 2012 CAF Confed Cup title, texted some of his players informing them that he had been expelled from the club. Another Azam assistant, Ugandan George “Best” Nsimbe was handed the task of steering Azam the rest of the season with instructions to retain the Tanzania Vodacom League title. Azam are leading on the table.

Incidentally, last season, Nsimbe coaches the Ugandan side, Kampala Capital City Authority [KCCA] which knocked out Al Merreikh in the opening round of last year’s Champions League.

Shaky ground

The remaining Cecafa region clubs in the continental championships will tread on shaky grounds in the forthcoming most of them meeting huge opponents.

In the Champions League, it will not come more daunting for Rwanda champions APR who will face multi-champions Al Ahly of Egypt. Gor Mahia of Kenya who sneaked in past Madagascar’s CNaPS will meet the formidable AC Leopards. The rest of the fixtures are:

Cecafa teams in Africa competitions:

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE:

APR – (Rwanda) v Al Ahly (Egypt)

Gor Mahia – (Kenya) v AC Leopards (Congo, Brazzaville)

Al Hilal – (Sudan) v Big Bullets (Malawi)

Al Merreikh – (Sudan) v Kubuscorp do Palanca (Angola)

CAF CONFED CUP:

Young Africans – (Tanzania) v Platinum (Zimbabwe)

Uganda Revenue Authority [URA] – (Uganda)  v Orlando Pirates (South Africa)

Dedebit – (Ethiopia) v Warri Wolves (Nigeria)

Rayon Sports – (Rwanda) v Zamalek (Egypt)

*Ahly Shendi – (Sudan) v MK Etancheite (Congo Brazzaville)

* Had a bye in the opening round

RESULTS:

(in bold, Cecafa region teams)

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE:

AS Kaloum (Guinea) 1-1 [Agg: 3-2] Sewe Sport (Cote d’Ivoire)

AC Semassi (Togo) 1-0 [Agg: 2-1] Sony de Ela Nguema (Equatorial Guinea)

Foullah Edifice (Chad) 3-1 [Agg: 3-4] USM Algiers (Algeria)

Cosmos De Bafia (Cameroon) 3-0 [Agg: 3-1] KCCA (Uganda)

Buffles de Borgou (Benin) 0-1 [Agg: 0-4] Enyimba (Nigeria)

Diables Noirs (Congo) 2-2 [Agg: 2-6] Raja Casablanca (Morocco)

Bantu (Lesotho) 0-0 [Agg: 0-1] Manga Sport (Gabon)

SM Sanga Balende (Congo, Kinshasa) 2-0 [Agg: 3-3] CRD Libolo (Angola) – Sanga Balende advance on away goal rule

St George (Ethiopia) 2-1 [Agg 2-2] MC Eulma (Algeria) – MC Eulma advance on away goal rule

Moghreb Tetouan (Morocco) 3-0 [Agg: 3-2] CO Bamako (Mali)

Al Merreikh (Sudan) 3-0 [Agg: 3-2] Azam (Tanzania)

Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) 3-0 [Agg: 4-1] St Michel United (Seychelles)

Smouha (Egypt) 1-0 [Agg: 1-1] Al Ahli Tripoli (Libya) – Smouha won 4-3 on penalties

Kano Pillars (Nigeria) 3-0 [Agg: 5-0] Al-Malakia (South Sudan)

Kabuscorp (Angola) 1-0 [Agg: 1-0] LLB Academic (Burundi)

Big Bullets (Malawi) 2-2 [Agg: 3-2] Fomboni Club (Comoros) – Big Bullets will face Al Hilal of Sudan in Round 1

APR (Rwanda) 2-1 [Agg: 2-1] Liga Desportiva de Maputo (Mozambique) – APR to meet Al Ahly of Egypt in Round 1

KMKM (Zanzibar) 1-0 [Agg: 1-2] Al Hilal (Sudan)

Zesco (Zambia) 1-0 [Agg: 2-1] Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland)

Township Rollers (Botswana) 0-1 [Agg: 1-3] Kaizer Chiefs (South Africa)

CNaPS (Madagascar) 3-2 [Agg: 3-3] Gor Mahia (Kenya) – Gor Mahia advance on away goals and will face AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville

CAF CONFED CUP:

Rayon Sports (Rwanda) 1-0 [Agg: 2-0] Panthére Sportive du Ndé (Cameroon) – Rayon Sports to face Zamalek in Round 1

Polisi (Zanzibar) 1-3 [Agg: 1-8] Mounana (Gabon)

Ferroviario Beira (Mozambique) 5-2 [Agg: 7-3] Petite Rivière Noire (Mauritius)

CARA Brazzaville (Congo, Brazzaville) 3-3 [Agg: 3-5] AS Togo-Port (Togo)

Power Dynamos (Zambia) 2-0 [Agg: 2-1] Al Khartoum (Sudan) – (Alex Ngonga 20′ 90′)

Petrojet (Egypt) 6-1 [Agg: 7-1] Al-Ghazal (South Sudan)

Le Messager Ngozi (Burundi) 0-1 [Agg: 0-3] Benfica de Luanda (Angola)

Olympique de Ngor (Senegal) 3-1 [Agg: 3-2] Unionsport du haut Nkama (Cameroon)

AS Police (Benin) 0-0 [Agg: 0-1] Hearts of Oak (Ghana)

Petro de Luanda (Angola) 4-0 [Agg: 5-0] Volcan Club (Comoros)

Elect-Sport (Chad) 0-1 [Agg: 1-7] Al Ittihad (Libya)

Dolphins (Nigeria) 1-0 [Agg: 1-1] Vegetarianos (Equatorial Guinea) – Dolphins won 5-3 on penalties

Royal Leopards (Swaziland) 3-0 [Agg: 3-3] Bidvest Wits (South Africa) – Royal Leopards won 7-6 on penalties

Platinum (Zimbabwe) 2-1 [Agg: 4-2] Sofapaka (Kenya)

Dedebit (Ethiopia) 2-0 [Agg: 5-2] Cote d’Or (Seychelles)

Elgeco Plus (Madagascar) 0-1 [Agg: 2-4] URA (Uganda) – URA will face Orlando Pirates of South Africa in Round 1

BDF XI (Botswana) 2-1 [Agg: 2-3] Young Africans (Tanzania)

MK Etancheite (Congo, Kinshasa) 1-1 [Agg: 3-2] Etoile du Congo (Congo, Brazzaville) – MK Etancheite will face Al Ahly Shendi in Round 1