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African leagues: Nothing new… it’s 42, boast champions Ahly

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Sep 21Al Ahly won a record-extending 42nd Egyptian Premier League title without playing when closest challengers and arch rivals Zamalek lost to Aswan at the weekend.

An Ibrahim Galal goal at the end of the first half earned mid-table Aswan a 1-0 victory, and gave Ahly an unassailable lead with six rounds remaining.

Supporters of record eight-time African champions Ahly tweeted “Nothing new… it’s 42” as they celebrated a fifth consecutive title and 13th in the past 14 seasons.

Here, AFP Sport rounds up the league action across Africa.

Egypt

Despite the disappointment of once again playing second fiddle to fellow Cairo club Ahly, Zamalek are on course to finish second and qualify for the 2020/2021 CAF Champions League.

The White Knights are six points ahead of Al Mokawloon Al Arab and seven in front of Pyramids with six rounds remaining.

A stoppage-time Shoukri Nagib goal rescued a 1-1 draw for Mokawloon at home to Al Ittihad while Pyramids host Haras el Hodoud Monday.

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Sudan

The Sudan Premier League resumed after a long Covid-19-induced suspension and traditional giants Al Hilal and Al Merrikh both won twice to occupy first and second places respectively.

Hilal had 1-0 victories over Al Ahly Merowe and Al Wadi to retain a three-point advantage over Merrikh with eight rounds to go.

Merrikh, the only Sudanese club to win a Confederation of African Football competition, edged Al Khartoum 1-0 before trouncing Rabita Kosti 4-1.

Morocco

A thrilling Botola Pro 1 race continued with leaders Raja Casablanca and title rivals Wydad Casablanca and Renaissance Berkane all winning.

Raja triumphed 3-1 at home to Difaa el Jadidi while Wydad won 2-1 at CR Khemis Zemamra and Berkane came away from Olympique Khouribga with a 1-0 victory.

Seeking a first league title since 2013, Raja have 48 points with six rounds left, Wydad 47 and Berkane 44.

Tanzania

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Ally Niyonzima scored on 25 minutes to give ice cream company club Azam a 1-0 win at Mbeya City and top spot with nine points after three rounds of the Tanzanian Premier League.

Defending champions Simba lie second, two points behind, after flexing their muscles by thrashing Biashara Mara United 4-0 with Zambian Clatous Chama bagging a brace.

Young Africans, who came second behind Simba last season, also have seven points thanks to a 1-0 win at Kagera Sugar via a goal from Democratic Republic of Congo-born Mukoko Tonombe.

Tunisia

Esperance, who recently won a fourth straight Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1 title, are on course for a treble after lifting the domestic Super Cup trophy.

The Tunis outfit edged CS Sfaxien 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw with Algerian Abdelkader Bedrane converting the match-winning spot-kick.

Esperance will face Chebba Wednesday in an FA Cup semi-final with the winners qualifying to meet Sfaxien or US Monastir.

Burundi

Defending champions Le Messager Ngozi crashed 2-0 at home against Olympic Star to suffer a second loss in three outings since the 2020/2021 Burundian Primus Ligue kicked off.

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FA Cup holders Musongati top the table with a maximum nine points after a 2-1 home win over former giants Vital’O, who are pointless and last in the table.

Burundi were the only African country to continue playing through the coronavirus pandemic, and there was no ban on spectators.

South Africa

Black Leopards retained their South African Premiership status by defeating Ajax Cape Town 2-0 to take an unassailable lead in a promotion/relegation mini-league.

Leopards, who are based in remote northeastern town Thohoyandou, accumulated nine points with one match to play while Ajax managed only six after two wins and two losses.

Bottom club Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivandila have lost all three matches, but will still play in the Premiership next season as they have bought the franchise of disbanded Bidvest Wits.

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