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Esperance crowned African champions with win over Wydad

Africantrumpet-The voice of Africans 15

Ghana's Hearts of Oak Is 100 Years Old

Esperance are Champions of Africa for the first time in 17 years and will repre- sent the continent at the Club World Cup Tunisia's Esperance have won the African Champions League after a 1-0 win over 10-man Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the second leg of the final.

Ghana's Harrison Afful got the only goal of the game to give the 'Blood and Gold' the victory. Wydad played most of the game a man down after defender Mourad el Massane was sent off for a crude challenge on

Esperance striker Yannick N'djeng at the end of the first half. Afful's strike came in the 21st minute of the game - the Ghanaian broke down the right hand side, cut infield and fired a powerful shot past Wydad's young keeper Yassine Bounou. It was an impressive fin- ish, out of keeping with a match that was mainly ragged and patchy, although - before they went down to 10 men - Wydad striker Fabrice Ondama was only denied by some impressive foot- work from Esperance keeper Moez Ben Cherifa.

The two teams were play- ing their fourth game against each other in this year's Champions League - having also met in two group matches - and each of the previous three games had ended in a draw.

The over-familiarity served to cancel out the creativity and the spectacle was not enhanced by the sending- off of Massane.

But Esperance celebrated in style, as they claimed the continental crown for the first time in 17 years - and can now prepare to represent Africa on the global stage.

The opening line of one of Hearts' of Oak's most famous chants says 'Hearts Eleven Is A Mighty Team'. It's an assertion few will deny but as they clock 100 years as a football club there will be many asking themselves how long that will remain. That Hearts Of Oak is a giant of Ghana football is undeniable and their roll of honours bears that out. Twenty times, they have been Ghana league cham- pions, their most recent in 2009.

They have won the Ghana FA Cup too nine times and won the CAF Confederation

Cup in 2004 after beating their bitter rivals Kumasi Asante Kotoko to the trophy. Their greatest moment how- ever came at the turn of the new century in 2000 when they achieved their long held ambition of becoming African Champions. Before then, the club's fans had proudly dubbed them- selves 'Continental Club Masters' with no trophy to show for it.

In 2000 they corrected all that beating established African forces El Ahly and Esperance enroute to the title.

That season too they achieved an unprecedented treble in Ghana football

adding the Champions League to their collection of league and Ghana FA Cup triumphs.

The hope then especially with the huge price money from their champions league triumph was that they will build on that and go on to significantly chal- lenge the dominance of the likes of Ahly on the conti- nent.

It proved to be a false dawn.

Only once since that win in 2000 have Hearts managed to make it into the group stages of the Champions League. Credit. bbc

CAF Unveils Nominees for 2011 Player of the Year and Player of the Year (Based in Africa)

tion of the players to their clubs and national teams during the year under review. For the first time, there are 10 nominees for the African Player of the Year (Based in Africa), contrary to the five for last year.

The lists was compiled through a vigorous exer- cise by the Technical, Football and Media Committees of CAF, tak- ing into account the per- formance of the player for his national team and club from January to November, 2011.

The Confederation of African Football(C AF) on Wednesday in


unveiled the nominees for the 2011 Player of the Year and the Player of the Year (Based in Africa). The nominees were revealed by Kwesi

Nyantakyi, CAF Executive Committee member and president of the Ghana Football Association. Ten nominees each were named for the two cate- gories based on the per- formance and contribu-

The nominees are (in alphabetical order): 2011 African Player of the Year (Based in Africa)

Ayoub Elkhiqi (Morocco and WAC) Yaya Banana (Cameroon and EST)

Edward Sadomba (Zimbabwe and Al Hilal) Idrissa Laouali (Niger and


Jerome Ramatlhakwane (Botswana and Vasco da Gama)

Kalu Uche (Nigeria and Enyimba)

Oussama Darragi (Tunisia and EST) Samir Aboud (Libya and Al-Etihad) Youssef Msakni (Tunisia

and EST)

Zouhir Dhaouadi (Tunisia and Club Africain) 2011 African Player of the Year

Adel Taarabt (Morocco and Queens Park Rangers) Andre Ayew (Ghana and Olympique de Marseille) Asamoah Gyan (Ghana

and Al-Ain)

Didier Drogba (Cote d’ Ivoire and Chelsea) Kevin-Prince Boateng (Ghana and AC Milan) Moussa Sow (Senegal and Lille)

Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon and Anzhi) Seydou Keita (Mali and Barcelona) Yao Kouassi Gervais “Gervinho” (Cote d’Ivoire and Arsenal) Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire and Manchester City) The winner will be decid- ed by votes from the Head Coaches or the Technical Directors of the National Associations affiliated to CAF. The Awards Gala will be held on on Thursday, December 22 in Accra, Ghana. It will be the third time the Ghanaian capital will be hosting the annual event after 2006 and 2009

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