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Away we go
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 18 - 02 - 2015

Egypt's Petrojet snatched a valuable victory in their maiden appearance in the first leg of the preliminary round 32 of the 2015 Orange CAF Confederation Cup, overcoming South Sudan's Al Ghazala 1-0 in Juba, Sudan
Midfielder Mustafa Shebeita scored the only goal in the 30th minute of the first half to give Petrojet a decent opportunity to advance after the return leg a fortnight later in Suez.
Elsewhere, Moroccan Renaissance Berkane laboured to a 2-1 win over Malian visitors Onze Createurs. At the 11 November Stadium in Luanda, Benfica Luanda beat Le Messager de Ngozi of Burundi 1-0. In Kampala, 10-man Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) beat their Malagasy opponents, ASSM Elgeco 3-2.
Egyptian club Ahly, the defending Confederation Cup champions, enjoyed a first round bye.
In the 2015 Orange CAF Champions League round of 32, in Tunis, Semouha of Egypt lost 1-0 to Ahly Tripoli of Libya from a penalty in the 48th minute scored by Mohamed Al-Ghanodi.
“The team missed the efforts of nine of its main players and we were facing a strong opponent, Ahly of Tripoli, who played seven friendly matches before facing us, Helmi Tolan, Semouha's head coach, said.
“It is also well known that the Libyans are trained under head coach Ruud Kroll, Zamalek's former team coach, and Mahmoud Gaber and Sayed Al-Sewerki who are Egyptians, so they know everything about Egyptian football,” Tolan said. “Semouha were unlucky.”
Semouha will have to win 2-0 in the second leg due to be played in Egypt on 1 March.
Tragedy struck the Egyptian team after the head of the delegation in Tunis, Ismail Farid, died the minute the plane landed in Cairo Airport following a sudden heart attack.
In other games in the Champions League, Moroccan Tetouan suffered a 2-0 loss in Bamako to Malian side Club Olympique de Bamako, while Raja, three-time winners of the premier continental club championship crushed visiting Diables Noirs of Congo 4-0 in Casablanca.
Separately, the African Confederation (CAF) announced some interesting facts about the 15th edition of the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations played in Equatorial Guinea and won by Cote d'Ivoire: 68 goals were scored in the 32 matches.
It had 45 goals in the group phase, 16 in the quarter-finals, seven at the semis and none in the third-place and final respectively, both won on penalties.
Of the 32 matches, 15 ended in stalemates, 10 of which finished 1-1. The average was 2.12 goals per match (1.87 at the end of the group phase). The biggest win was that of Ghana (3-0 against Guinea and 3-0 against Equatorial Guinea).
The highest scoring teams were Ghana (10), Cote d'Ivoire (9), DR Congo (7), Algeria and Congo (6), Equatorial Guinea and Tunisia (5), South Africa, Guinea, Mali and Senegal (3),Cameroon, Gabon, Zambia (2), and Burkina Faso and Cape Verde (1).
Meanwhile, the CAF launched the 2015 CAF U-17 which is hosted by Niger. It is a celebration of Africa's rising talents as the championship gets underway in Niamey with the hosts taking on holders and FIFA World Cup record winners Nigeria and debutants Zambia in action against Guinea in Group A. The tournament also serves as qualifiers for the FIFA U-17 finals to be hosted by Chile later this year.
Group B will be in action with South Africa's Amajimbos taking on the defending champions, Cote d'Ivoire's Baby Elephants, while Mali and Cameroon square off in the second of a Municipal Stadium double-header.
The Golden Eaglets are the most successful team in the world at this level, having won the FIFA U-17 championship four times and the African championship twice.
Against the hosts who are making a maiden appearance, the Super Eaglets will be hot favourites.
Competing teams are Niger, Nigeria, Zambia, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa, Mali and Cameroon.
On the other hand, Morocco rejected the sanctions imposed on them by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for not hosting the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. The Royal Federation of Moroccan Football (FRMF) said it “rejects all of these sports and financial sanctions”. It added that it believes there is “no regulatory basis” for the punishments.
After winning the rights to host the ACN tournament, Morocco then belatedly decided not to host it for fear of Ebola.
The penalty imposed by CAF was for Morocco to miss the next two ACN tournaments, in 2017 and 2019.
The FMRF said on its website: “The executive committee is said to be greatly surprised by the decisions taken by CAF. They do not correspond in any way to the conclusions of the first meeting in Cairo with the president of CAF.” The FRMF added that it would “take all necessary measures to uphold the rights and interests of Moroccan football and provisions”.
Meantime, Algerian club JS Kabylie have won their appeal against a two-year ban from African competitions imposed after the death of their striker Albert Ebosse. Cameroonian Ebosse suffered fatal head injuries following a home domestic league match in August.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) “annulled with immediate effect” the ban imposed by the CAF in October.
It ruled that CAF “did not comply'' with its own rules in banning the club.
“The (decision to ban) was taken without the representatives of the club JSK having been heard or even informed of the procedure in progress,'' the court said in a statement. It was initially thought that Ebosse died after being hit by an object thrown by fans after his side's 2-1 home defeat by USM Alger -- in which he scored.
But a post-mortem indicated Ebosse died as a result of a beating rather than being hit by a projectile.
Kabylie qualified on merit for the African Champions League preliminary round by finishing second in Algeria's league.
They are scheduled to host St. George of Ethiopia in a preliminary round, first leg match.

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