New East African competition starts today
Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | A new football competition for East African teams kicks off in Dar es Salaam on Monday featuring top league clubs from Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar.
The inaugural SportPesa Super Cup is backed by the Kenyan and Tanzania football federations after two major regional tournaments organised by the East and Central Africa Football Associations, CECAFA failed to take place last year.
Football rivalry between the east African clubs dates back to the Gossage Cup first played over 90 years ago.
“For decades since the Gossage Cup started in 1926, Kenyan and Tanzanian teams have been involved in classic football battles which have excited and captivated their supporters at home and across Africa”, SportPesa chief executive Ronald Karauri said.
“So SportPesa realized the need to bring back the glorious days of Kenyan and Tanzanian football by this tournament.
Kenyan giants AFC Leopards will open the campaign against Singida of Zanzibar at Dar es Salaam’s Uhuru stadium on Monday.
Tanzanian league champions Yanga face their Kenyan counterparts, Tusker in the second match of the day.
Other competing teams are Simba of Tanzania, Jang’ombe Boys FC of Zanzibar and Gor Mahia and Nakuru All Stars of Kenya.
The final will be held on June 11.
Ethiopian ‘Saints’ go marching on
Sharpshooter Saladin Said scored his sixth CAF Champions League goal Sunday to take outsiders Saint George of Ethiopia closer to shock qualification for the quarter-finals.
The Addis Ababa outfit defeated off-form former champions V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo 1-0 with the only goal coming on the hour in a packed 30,000-capacity stadium.
When a V Club defender lost possession inside his penalty area, the ball was squared for international striker Said to slam the ball into the roof of the net.
His six goals make him the leading scorer in the elite African club competition this season with one more than Sudanese Bakary al Madina of Al Merrikh and Libyan Muaid Allafi of Al Ahly Tripoli.
Securing maximum points after 0-0 draws with title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa and twice champions Esperance of Tunisia lifted the “Saints” one place to second in Group C.
Esperance have seven points after winning 2-1 in South Africa Friday, Saint George five, Sundowns four and V Club are pointless following three consecutive defeats.
The Tunisians appear likely group winners with two of the three remaining fixtures at home, leaving Saint George and Sundowns to scrap for the second ticket to the knockout stage.
Group debutants Saint George host the defending champions on July 1 in a fixture sure to have a major bearing on the final standings.
Former champions Etoile Sahel of Tunisia surrendered the last 100 percent record in the Champions League this year when surprisingly held 1-1 at home by Al Hilal of Sudan.
Having beaten AS Tanda of the Ivory Coast twice to qualify and Ferroviario Beira of Mozambique and Al Merrikh of Sudan in earlier Group A matches, hosts Etoile were expected to carry on winning.
Defenders combined to put Etoile ahead on 57 minutes in Mediterranean resort Sousse with Rami Bedoui crossing and Zied Boughattas side-footing the ball into the net.
There was a hint of offside when twice runners-up Hilal levelled on 80 minutes with Mohammed Musa Idris breaking clear and chipping the ball over the goalkeeper before scoring.
Etoile have seven points, Ferroviario four, Hilal three and Merrikh one with three rounds to go.