Zamalek finish second to book Champions League spot

ElSH5l-XgAI6E-3

An early Mostafa Mohamed goal set up Zamalek to defeat Ismaily 3-1 in Cairo to clinch second place in the Egyptian Premier League and secure qualification for the 2021 CAF Champions League. 

Had the White Knight not collected three points, they could have been overtaken by 2020 CAF Confederation Cup runners-up Pyramids and lost out on a place in the elite African club competition.

Champions Al Ahly will be the other Egyptian representatives in the Champions League with Pyramids and fourth-place Al Mokawloon Al Arab entering the CAF Confederation Cup.

Here, AFP Sport rounds up football news from Africa.

Egypt

Zamalek swiftly stamped their authority over mid-table Ismaily as Mohamed and Democratic Republic of Congo-born Kabongo Kasongo scored within 24 minutes.

Moroccan Achraf Bencharki stretched the lead to three goals during the second half before Wagih Abdelhakim reduced arrears after goalkeeper Mohamed Abougabal blundered.

Zamalek now switch their attention to the 2020 Champions League as they will defend a 1-0 lead over Raja Casablanca of Morocco this Sunday in the second leg of a semi-final in Cairo.

Photo @ZSCOfficial

Zambia

Zambia made it four wins in five 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying warm-up matches this month under new Serb coach Milutin Sredojevic by defeating Ethiopia 3-2 and 3-1 in Addis Ababa.

Albert Kangwanda bagged a brace in the first international friendly and Emmanuel Chabula matched that feat in the second encounter.

Former African champions Zambia are preparing for two crucial Cup of Nations fixtures with Botswana during November after losing to Algeria and Zimbabwe in previous Group H matches.

Libya

Civil war in Libya led to the cancellation of the past two football seasons, so the 2017-2018 standings have been used to choose clubs for the CAF club competitions. 

League winners Al Nasr and runners-up Al Ahly Benghazi will compete in the Champions League and third-place Al Ahly Tripoli and cup winners Al Ittihad in the Confederation Cup.

Libya came closest to lifting a CAF trophy when Al Ahly Tripoli reached the 1984 African Cup Winners Cup final before Moamer Kadhafi barred them from playing Al Ahly because of political differences with Egypt.

122533340_3532549063488425_835565373334479590_o

Gabon

English Premier League duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal and Mario Lemina of Fulham have been included in the Gabon squad for two Cup of Nations qualifiers against Group D leaders the Gambia.

Both missed the recent friendly loss to Benin in Portugal because of injuries with the absence of 2015 African Footballer of the Year Aubameyang particularly noticeable.

Coach Patrice Neveu included 11 players with French clubs in a 23-strong squad, including Saint-Etienne forward Denis Bouanga.

Photo @FEGAFOOT

South Africa

Carlisle United is not a club name normally found on international squad lists, but South Africa have called up midfielder Dean Furman from the English fourth-tier outfit.

He is part of a 25-man squad for home and away Cup of Nations Group C qualifiers against minnows Sao Tome e Principe next month.

Born in Cape Town and brought up in England, the 32-year-old recently joined Carlisle from Pretoria-based South African Premiership club SuperSport United.

Guinea

The Guinean Ligue 1 Pro season has kicked off after a long coronavirus-induced suspension of football in the west African nation and Hafia and Wakriya are the pacesetters with four points from two matches.

Hafia were African giants in the 1970s, reaching five African Cup of Champions Clubs (predecessor to the CAF Champions League) finals and winning three.

 African commitments have delayed the debut of CAF Confederation Cup semi-finalists Horoya, who will be seeking a sixth straight league title.

South Sudan

Cameroon-born South Sudan coach Cyprian Ashu Bessong has included 10 Australia-based players in his squad for back-to-back Cup of Nations qualifiers against Uganda during November.

 Those called up include Melbourne City goalkeeper Majak Mawith, defender Ruon Tongyik from Central Coast Mariners, Perth SC midfielder Jackson Morgan and forward Yuel Kauch from Western Union.

South Sudan are desperate for points against Group B frontrunners Uganda having lost away to Malawi and at home to Burkina Faso.

AFP