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Amoah backs Ghana's CAF pull-out

Football
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Ludwe Mpakumpaku stars for TS Galaxy in CAF Confederation Cup

The CAF Confederation Cup commenced with its first round, first leg matches over the weekend, and we review the action by picking the top 10 performers from around the African continent..

Souleymane Coulibaly (Djoliba)

Maranatha (Togo) 1-2 Djoliba (Mali)

Bamako-based Djoliba have taken a stranglehold on the tie with their win in Lome, where Coulibaly scored the visitor's first goal. The young attacker provided the perfect outlet for Djoliba to sit back and play on the break, with his pace and dribbling skills a constant thorn in the side of Maranatha's defence.

Abdallah Hassan (Bandari)

Bandari (Kenya) 2-0 US Ben Guerdane (Tunisia)

North African sides usually dominate African club competition, but occasionally they come unstuck in the most unexpected places, and fans of US Ben Guerdane would not gave been expecting defeat away to Bandari, who are making only their second appearance in this competition. The main character in the victory for 'Al Bandar' was defender Abdallah Hassan; not only did he marshal the defence, which kept quiet an attack that boasts the likes of Brazilian striker Ricardinho, he also nodded home the second goal from a free-kick in the 78th minute.

Hassan Matovu (Proline)

AS Kigali (Rwanda) 1-1 Proline (Uganda)

Ugandan visitors Proline were indebted to goalkeeper Hassan Matovu, who produced a brilliant performance as this East African derby ended in a draw. He may have shipped a goal to the hosts' Farouk Sentongo, but that was only from the penalty spot in the dying minutes of the match. He had previously made a string of saves to frustrate Kigali's attackers, with the home side's inability to capitalise on their dominance moving coach Eric Nshiyimana to say they are in a bad spot heading into the return game. "We dominated the second half and had many chances to score, but all were wasted. And, this puts us in a bad position going into the second leg," he told the post-match press conference, as per Rwanda's New Times.

Mahmoud Wadi (Al Masry)

Malindi (Zanzibar) 1-4 Al Masry (Egypt)

Wadi is the only non-African in this list, the Palestinian striker named for his standout performance as Egyptian club Al Masry claimed a comfortable win in Zanzibar. The 180cm-plus striker lived up to his nickname of 'The Tower' in scoring the opening goal, with a powerful header from a free-kick in the 27th minute, but he showed that he has more tricks up his sleeve than just aerial dominance, as he completed a hat-trick with deft finishes with his feet in the 41st and 54th minutes.

Mohamed Farouk (Pyramids FC)

Pyramids (Egypt) 1-1 CR Belouizdad (Algeria)

Pyramids have been looking to upset the status quo both in Egypt and in continental competition, having spent big in the transfer market in recent times to build a squad capable of competing with heavyweights such as Al Ahly and Zamalek. Farouk is one such purchase, and the winger rescued a home draw. A speedy and skilful winger, he may be even more influential in the return game at the end of the month, when his attributes will be more suited to a counter-attacking performance on the road.

Fanelo Mamba (Young Buffaloes)

Young Buffaloes (Eswatini) 1-0 Bidvest Wits (South Africa)

Bidvest Wits boast one of South Africa's best-organised defences, but their Achilles heel comes against intelligent strikers -- those who may not pose a particular threat through pace or physicality but have the ability to find space between the lines and drag markers out of position. Mambas is just such a player, and he proved his potency with the only goal of their clash against the Clever Boys after ghosting away from his marker to meet a cross and score in the 29th minute.

Eric Donkor (Ashanti Gold)

Ashanti Gold (Ghana) 3-2 RS Berkane (Morocco)

Ashanti defender Donkor was influential at both ends of the field in this thrilling fixture - as he scored the opening goal from a set piece in the 15th minute and put in a manful showing at the back. He accepts, howver, that Berkane's two away goals leave the West Africans in a tricky position. "We know most of our fans are not content with the scoreline, but I believe anything is possible in football, and we are capable of winning or getting a draw in Morocco to ensure our qualification," he is quoted by GhanaWeb.

Rodgers Kola (Zanaco)

Bolton City (Mauritius) 1-2 Zanaco (Zambia)

Striker Kola who scored the Zambian side's second goal before he was substituted soon after due to injury. The loss of the experienced attacker as spearhead unsettled the Bankers, as explained by captain Ziyo Tembo after the game: "In the first half before Roger [Rodgers Kola] and Chitiya [Mususu] came out, we had a lot of fighting power upfront. The two players who came in did well but missed a lot of chances," the skipper is quoted as saying by Futaa.

Ralph Kawondera (Triangle United)

Azam (Tanzania) 0-1 Triangle United (Zimbabwe)

Triangle United put in a near-perfect away performance in Dar Es Salaam, where Ralph Kawondera scored the only goal of the game. The midfielder's value to his team was not just in finding the net, however; his defensive discipline helped the Zimbabweans blunt Azam, who enjoyed the majority of possession, while his mobility and pace allowed the visitors to stretch their opponent's defence whenever the chance to counter-attack arose.

Ludwe Mpakumpaku (TS Galaxy)

TS Galaxy (South Africa) 1-0 CNaPS Sport (Madagascar)

Sanele Barns scored the only goal, but it was the clean sheet and captain's performance from goalkeeper Ludwe Mpakumpaku that stood out for South African second-tier side TS Galaxy. The gloveman rebuffed several attempts from the islanders to score an away goal, and kept his teammates cool and calm even when CNaPS resorted to rough play in the second half -- most notably a challenge on Sihle Ndluli that broke the player's wrist but went unpunished by the referee.

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