June's African football news in brief

Ikoko
DR Congo defender, Jordan Ikoko

African football stories in short for June as the countdown to the Cup of Nations in Egypt continues.

Monday 17 June:

Former Paris Saint Germain defender Jordan Ikoko has moved to Bulgarian champions Ludogorets where he believes he can "achieve success".

The 25-year-old DR Congo international officially joined from French side Guingamp on Sunday, leaving France for the first time in his club career.

"I am happy to come to a team like Ludogorets where I can achieve even bigger success," Ikoko said.

"I believe I can contribute to the team's participation in the championship and the European tournaments."

He is the second African player to be recruited by Ludogorets within a week after they also signed Congo Brazaville international Mavis Tchibota.

Ikoko played at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations but has not been included in the Leopards' 23-man squad for this year's event in Egypt.

Sunday 16 June:

Uganda warmed-up for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a morale-boosting 1-0 win over twice African champions Ivory Coast in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Farouk Miya sealed the victory for the Cranes with a 34th-minute penalty.

Miya
Uganda's Farouk Miya struck from the penalty spot as the Cranes beat Ivory Coast on Saturday

Uganda will play in Group A at the Nations Cup with hosts Egypt, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo who were also in warm-up action on Saturday.

West Ham defender Arthur Masuaku snatched a late equaliser for DR Congo in a 1-1 draw against Kenya in Spain.

Kenya led from the 25th minute through Michael Olunga only to be deprived of victory when Masuaku netted three minutes from time.

Ghana and South Africa drew 0-0 behind closed doors in a Dubai clash of two former Cup of Nations winners.

Veteran forward Asamoah Gyan came close to winning the friendly for Ghana with a late header that rattled the crossbar.

The Nations Cup kicks off on 21 June in Cairo with record seven-time champions Egypt hosting Zimbabwe in the opening match.

Saturday 15 June:

Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi visited the Egyptian team at the Air Defence Stadium in Cairo on Saturday as the country prepares to host the Africa Cup of Nations.

Egyptian presidency spokesman Bassam Rady said Mr Sisi assured the players that he had trust in the entire team and asked them to win the Cup to make Egyptians happy.

In return, the players promised Egypt's President they will do their best to win the African title for a record-extending eighth time.

Egypt kick off their campaign on Friday against Zimbabwe at the Cairo International Stadium.

Holders Cameroon drew 1-1 with Mali on Friday in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations warm-up match in Qatar.

Youssouf Kone scored an individual goal for Mali, cutting in from the wing, before unleashing a powerful shot into the roof of the net.

Mali retained the lead until first half stoppage-time when Karl Toko Ekambi from Spanish club Villarreal equalised.

Cameroon will face Benin, Ghana and Guinea-Bissau in Group E at the Nations Cup while Mali are in Group E with Angola, Mauritania and Tunisia.

In Moroccan city Marrakech, Mauritania came from behind to defeat Madagascar 3-1 in a friendly between countries who will be making their Nations Cup debuts this month.

The Cup of Nations kicks off on 21 June with a Group A match between hosts Egypt and Zimbabwe in Cairo.

Friday 14 June:

Egypt and Aston Villa's Ahmed Elmohamady
Egypt's Ahmed Elmohamady helped Aston Villa gain promotion to the English Premier League for next season

Africa Cup of Nations hosts Egypt beat fellow finalists Tanzania 1-0 in a friendly at the Borg Al Arab stadium near Alexandria.

Ahmed Elmohamady of newly-promoted Aston Villa scored the only goal of the game after 64 minutes.

Despite the Pharaohs' Mexican coach Javier Aguirre making seven substitutions, Liverpool Mohamed Salah did not feature in the match.

Tanzania's Nigerian coach Emmanuel Amuneke made just three changes to his side during the match.

Egypt face Guinea on Sunday, also in Alexandria, ahead of the Nations Cup that begins on Friday.

Congo Brazzaville international Mavis Tchibota will play his club football in Bulgaria next season after he completed a move to top-flight club Ludogorets.

The 23-year-old forward joins from Israeli club Bnei Yehuda having already signed a pre-contract agreement with the former Bulgarian champions in February.

Tchibota scored 11 goals in 30 league appearances last season.

He played for Congo at the 2011 Under-17 World Cup in Mexico and also featured for his country's under-20s before making his senior debut in a 5-1 home defeat to Ghana in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Thursday 13 June:

United Arab Emirates side Al Ain have announced signing of Togo international Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba.

The 27-year-old joins as a free agent after his contract with Moroccan side Renaissance Berkane and signs a deal until 2022.

Laba impressed for Berkane in the Moroccan championship scoring 18 goals to finish as the league's second highest scorer just one Raja Casablanca's Moussine Iajour.

His impressive season also saw him finish as top scorer in the Confederation Cup with eight goals as Berkane lost to Egypt's Zamalek in the final.

The Liberia national team
Liberia will have to play their next four matches without coach Thomas Kojo on the touchline

The Gambia edged out Morocco 1-0 in a friendly in Marrakech as the Atlas Lions continue their preparations for next week's Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Musa Barrow, who plays for Italian Serie A club and Champions League qualifiers Atalanta, scored the match-winner on 27 minutes.

Morocco coach Herve Renard made numerous substitutions in the first of two friendly fixtures before heading to Egypt for the finals.

It was the second victory in six days for the Gambians against a Nations Cup-bound side after they beat Guinea 1-0 last Friday in the same city.

The head of the Ethiopian Football Federation's League Committee, Awol Abdurahim, has confirmed the country's top-flight will resume on Friday.

There has been no action in the Ethiopian Premier League for 8 days after it was suspended due to security concerns, following several violent incidents at matches.

"The league will continue on Friday with Ethiopian Coffee taking on Mekele 70 Enderta in Addis Ababa. The league will conclude before the start of July," EFF vice-president Abdurahim stated.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has given Liberia coach Thomas Kojo a four-game touchline ban.

The ban relates to Kojo's dismissal during a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to DR Congo in March.

Kojo was sent off before the start of the second half by Senegalese referee Maguette N'Diaye for protesting over some water spilt in Liberia's penalty area.

In his match report, referee N'Diaye said the sending off was for "abusive language".

Kojo's ban begins with a 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier at home to Senegal on 26 July.

Tuesday 11 June:

Egypt's Mexican coach Javier Aguirre
Egypt's Mexican coach Javier Aguirre took his squad to the cinema

Egypt's Mexican coach Javier Aguirre took his squad to the cinema in Alexandria to help combat the boredom of their training camp ahead of hosting the Africa Cup of Nations.

The team visited the cinema next to their hotel to watch an Egyptian film about the days that followed the 1967 Six-Day War with Israel called El-Mamar.

The film even had a strong footballing link with former Egypt international Ahmed Salah Hosny in one of the leading roles.

As a player, Hosny won 32 caps for Egypt and appeared at the Nations Cup in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

Monday 10 June:

Senegal international midfielder Diawandou Diagne has joined Indian Super League side Delhi Dynamos from Belgian club KAS Eupen.

Delhi Dynamos have not disclosed details nor the duration of the deal with the player.

The 24-year-old, a product of Qatar's Aspire Academy, started his professional career at KAS Eupen before switching to FC Barcelona B in 2014.

He made 27 appearances for the Catalan club before returning for a loan spell at Eupen in 2015. A permanent transfer to the Belgium club followed in 2017 and he played 65 games, scoring once for KA Eupen.

A former U-17 and U-20 youth international, Diagne has two senior appearances for Senegal's Teranga Lions.

Sunday 9 June:

Senegal v South Korea
Senegal lost to South Korea on penalties in their Fifa Under 20 World Cup quarter-final.

There was heartbreak for Senegal on Saturday after they were knocked out of the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Poland, losing their quarter-final on penalties to South Korea.

In a dramatic match, captain Cavin Diagne put Senegal ahead with Lee Kangin equalising from the spot in the second half. Ibrahima Niane's 76th-minute penalty looked to have secured the African team a semi-final place until Lee Jisol's late header.

Cho Youngwook put South Korea ahead in the first period of extra time with Amadou Ciss hitting a dramatic equaliser in the dying seconds.

With the quarter-final level at 3-3 at the final whistle, the match went to penalties with South Korea winning the shootout 3-2 after Diagne's miss.

South Korea will play Ecuador in Tuesday's semi-finals with Ukraine facing Italy.

Angola secured a morale-boosting 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in a friendly international on Saturday as both teams continued their build-up for the Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off on 21 June in Egypt.

Angola scored twice within a minute midway through the second half via Ladislau and Mabululu in the match in Portugal.

Angola are in Group E at the Nations Cup with Tunisia, Mali and Mauritania, while Guinea-Bissau will face defending champions Cameroon, Ghana and Benin in Group F.

In another Nations Cup warm-up match on Saturday, Zimbabwe held Nigeria to a 0-0 draw in Asaba.

Nigeria, who will meet Guinea, Burundi and Madagascar in Group B, dominated possession in challenging conditions.

But a Super Eagles attack that included Alex Iwobi of Arsenal could not find a way past Zimbabwe goalkeeper George Chigova.

It was a third consecutive clean sheet for Zimbabwe after they beat Comoros 2-0 last weekend and then drew 0-0 with Zambia. Zimbabwe will be in Group A with hosts Egypt, DR Congo and Uganda.

Belgian club Cercle Brugge confirmed the signing of Gambian forward Aboubakary Kante from French second tier side Beziers.

The 22-year-old has signed a three-year contract with an option for another two years with the three-time Belgian champions.

"Very happy to have joined Cercle Brugge for the next three seasons," the uncapped Scorpion wrote on social media.

Kante was born in France to Gambian parents and has played his entire professional career in France.

"We are very satisfied with the transfer for Aboubakary," said Brugge's Sporting Director Francois Vitali. "He is a player with the necessary qualities to help Cercle in its ambitious project."

Aboubakary's transfer prevented him from joining up with The Gambia national team after being named in their provisional squad for their training camp in Morocco.

Saturday 8 June:

Italy v Mali
Mali lost their Fifa U20 World Cup quarter-final 4-2 to Italy in Poland

Mali were knocked out of the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Poland on Friday, losing 4-2 to Italy in the quarter-finals.

The African side had to play most of the match with 10 men after Ousmane Diakite was sent off for a bad challenge after 21 minutes.

At the time, Mali were losing 1-0 to an early Ibrahima Kone own-goal. Despite being a man down, Mali equalised through Sekou Koita before the break.

The second-half proved just as frenetic with Andrea Pinamonti putting Italy 2-1 up only for Mohamed Camara to level the match to 2-2.

Italy took advantage of the extra man by scoring two goals in two minutes late on through Pinamonti and Davide Frattesi to seal their place in the semi-finals.

Moroccan club FUS Rabat has agreed a four-year deal with Gambia's Real De Banjul for their teenage playmaker, Pa Modou Sohna.

The 18 year-old has had a medical with FUS and will join his new club in July when the current season ends.

Sohna will be the third player from Real de Banjul to sign for FUS Rabat after Yusupha Njie and Mohamed Badamosi.

"I've been at RDB for my entire career and it is really sad that am leaving but it is for an exciting challenge of playing professional football at a very good club and in a competitive league," Pa Modou Sohna told his club's website.

The Gambian youth international has scored ten goals this season for Real de Banjul who are in second place going into Sunday's final league fixture against Marimoo FC.

Friday 7 June:

France-born defender Souleyemane Doumbia has joined the Elephants' provisional squad for a training camp in France ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

The 22-year old plays for French club Rennes and was included in the Elephants' squad for a Nations Cup qualifier against Guinea last year, but did not play.

Rennes and Ivory Coast defender Souleymane Doumbia
Rennes defender Souleymane Doumbia has been called up to the Ivory Coast provisional squad

The Elephants are due face Comoros in France on Friday in the first of three warm-up games, they will play two further matches in Abu Dhabi against Uganda on 14 June and Ethiopia four days later.

Doumbia made just seven Ligue 1 appearances for Rennes in last season as he helped them to win the French Cup.

Another nation adding to its provisional squad ahead of the Nations Cup is Morocco, who called up goalkeeper Anas Zniti.

The Raja Casablanca keeper has been included by coach Harve Renard as cover for Abdelali Mhamdi, who has a shoulder injury and is racing against time to be fit for the tournament.

The Atlas Lions are at a training camp at home and will play two friendlies in Marrakech against The Gambia on 12 June and Zambia four days later.

Ghana defender Nuhu Musah and his Swiss club St Gallen (FCSG) have confirmed that he will miss the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt with a knee injury.

The 22-year-old picked up his injury on Wednesday during a training session for the Black Stars in Dubai.

"How serious the injury is, is currently not clear. Nuhu is already on the return journey to Switzerland organized by the FCSG, where he is being closely examined by our medical team," the Swiss club said.

Musah had been named in a 29-man provisional by head coach Kwesi Appiah and hade been training in United Arab Emirates since June.

Wednesday 5 June:

South Africa's Keagan Dolly
South Africa's Keagan Dolly missed most of the season in France with a broken leg

South Africa's team doctor Thulani Ngwenya has confirmed that Keagan Dolly will miss the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations with a groin injury.

The 26-year-old, who plays for French club Montpellier, had been named in Bafana Bafana's provisional squad despite missing most of the season after breaking his leg.

An MRI scan has shown he has "aggravated his niggling groin injury".

"He's completely out of the Afcon. There is no chance that his groin injury will recover in time," said Dr Ngwenya.

Algerian midfielder Victor Lekhal has had his contract with French Ligue 2 club Le Harve extended until 2023 despite he missing the end of the season with an injury.

The 25-year old has not played since March after rupturing his cruciate knee ligaments on his international debut for Algeria in a 1-0 win over Tunisia in a friendly.

After his contract extension Lekhal said: "I'm a warrior, I'll not let go of anything just because I'm injured."

Lekhal made 26 league appearances for Le Harve last season before his injury.

Liberia international Tonia Tisdell has renewed his contract with Cypriot top-flight club Nea Salamina Famagusta until 2020, with an option for a further year.

The 27-year-old's contract was set to expire at the end of the season and has seen his debut season at the club limited to just six games due to injury.

Tisdell, who has 12 caps for Liberia, joined Famagusta on a free transfer from Denizlispor in Turkey's First Lig in early February.

Wydad Casablanca put the controversies of the African Champions League second leg behind them to clinch the Moroccan league title on Tuesday.

The championship was won with a game to spare with a 4-1 win over Olympique Khouribga which put them six points clear of city rivals Raja.

It is a 20th league title for Wydad as defending champions Ittihad Tanger are 18 points further back.

Mali under-20 player Sambou Sissoko
Sambou Sissoko scored the winning penalty for Mali as they beat Argentina in the second round of the Under-20 World Cup

Mali overcame Argentina on penalties after a 2-2 draw to progress to the quarter-finals of the Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

Argentina took the lead shortly after half-time through Adolfo Gaich before Abdoulaye Diaby headed home an equaliser in the 67th minute.

Diaby then scored an own goal just a minute into extra-time to give Argentina the lead again only for Mali to take the game to penalties as Boubacar Konte was on target in injury time at the end of the match.

Sambou Sissoko struck the winning penalty for Mali while Youssouf Koita's save from Tomas Chancalay's attempt was the difference in the penalties.

Mali will now face Italy on Friday in the last eight while Senegal will play South Korea a day later.

Tuesday 4 June:

Esperance were crowned Tunisian champions on Monday after a 4-0 victory over JS Kairouane in Rades.

Their victory, just three days after winning the African Champions League, makes it three league titles in a row and a 29th overall for Esperance.

"This is a remarkable achievement that I wish to celebrate with our fans towards the end of the season" Esperance coach Moain Chaabani said.

"Esperance is my team and will forever be grateful for what it has given me. I have spent 15 years as a player and I'm grateful for what it has given me."

Esperance secured the title with 3 games left for them to play.

Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev have announced the signing of Ghanaian Mohammed Kadiri.

The 23-year-old defender joins from Austria Vienna on an initial four-year deal with the option to extend for another 12 months.

Kadiri spent last season on loan at Russian Premier League side Arsenal Tula, where he scored two goals in 27 appearances.

He is yet to make his international debut for Ghana and has not been included in the Black Stars provisional squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

Senegal's Amadou Sagna celebrates
Senegal's Amadou Sagna has scored four goals at the Under-20 World Cup

Senegal beat Nigeria 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

Amadou Sagna scored his fourth goal of the finals after 36 minutes before Ibrahima Niane, who plays for French second-tier side Metz, added a second just before half-time.

Nigeria pulled one back through Success Makanjuola five minutes after the break but Senegal held on for the victory.

In the quarter-finals Senegal will play either Japan or South Korea on Saturday.

Monday 3 June:

Cameroon's players celebrate winning the Africa Cup of Nations
Cameroon beat Egypt to win the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

Holders Cameroon will play three friendlies against Zambia, Mali and Spanish division two outfit AD Alcorcon in the build up to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Cameroon's football federation (Fecafoot) published the Indomitable Lions' training schedule on Monday, ahead of Africa's showpiece event which kicks off on 21 June.

They will be based at the prestigious training facility of Spanish giants Real Madrid in Valdebas from 4-10 June.

The five time African champions will face Zambia on 9 June before concluding their stay in Madrid with a friendly against Alcorcon a day later.

The squad will head to Qatar for another training camp from 11-16 June where they will come up against Mali on 14 June in a warm-up game.

The Indomitable Lions have been drawn in Group F at the Nations cup and will play Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and Benin.

Ivory Coast's Football Federation has confirmed two more friendly matches - against Comoros and Ethiopia - ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Elephants, who have named a 27-man provisional squad, will face Comoros on Friday in France where they are currently at a training camp.

They will then move to a second training camp in Abu Dhabi where they will meet Ethiopia in their final warm-up game on 18 June.

Ivory Coast will play in group D at the Nations Cup alongside Morocco, South Africa and Namibia.

Sunday 2 June:

Former Nigeria U-20 forward Suleiman Abdullahi has joined newly promoted German Bundesliga side Union Berlin on a permanent deal from Eintracht Braunschweig.

The 22-year-old switched to Berlin on loan last summer and scored two goals in 19 league appearances as Union Berlin sealed promotion to the German top-flight.

"I'm very happy to continue playing for FC Union Berlin," Abdullahi told the club website.

"It was a good year for me and I'm looking forward to the new season and the Bundesliga."

Saturday 1 June:

Tunisia midfielder Saad Bguir has joined newly promoted Saudi top flight club Abha FC on a two-year deal after helping Esperance retain the African Champions League on Friday.

The announcement was made by Abha less than an hour after Esperance lifted the title following a controversial win over Wydad Casablanca in the final.

Bguir, 25, was the hero in last year's Champions league final, scoring a brace against Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the return leg as Esperance won the competition.

Bguir, who has been capped 11 times by Tunisia, leaves Esperance after four seasons.

Mali booked their place in the last 16 of the Under-20 World Cup in Poland, despite a 3-2 defeat to France in their final match of Group E on Friday.

Mickael Cuisance put France ahead with Sekou Koita equalising for Mali. In the second half, Moussa Diaby and Amine Gouiri made it 3-1 to France with Ousmane Diakite adding a second for Mali in the dying seconds.

Mali will now face Argentina on 4 June for a place in the quarter-finals.

There will be an all-African last 16 tie on 3 June when Senegal and Nigeria face each other.

South Africa's campaign ended on Friday night with a 1-1 draw against Portugal in their final Group F match.

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