FIFA holds congress in Morocco, North African teams dominate in ACL
Around 1,378 delegates from all over the world gathered in Marrakech 11-12 September to discuss the latest developments in football and to draw up plans for the future of the sport five years ahead of Africa's first ever World Cup, in South Africa 2010.
The event also coincided with the 60th birthday of football legend and World Cup 2006 chief organiser Franz Beckenbauer. Football's greatest players of the past and celebrities including Claudia Schiffer, Boris Becker, and Katarina Witt were expected to attend his party in Morocco.
Moroccan hi-tech specialists setup a system for electronic voting during the congress, an unprecedented initiative for FIFA.
[AFP] Beckenbauer (left) has received many recent honours for his birthday and for organising the 2006 World Cup in Germany
“Tunisia's Etoile defeated Zamalek of Egypt 2-1 in a very dynamic game”
Around 1,600 people were scheduled to attend the closing dinner late on Monday (12 September). The halls in which the congress and dinner took place were decorated with 26,000 Moroccan-grown roses. The hosts provided 30 buses and 50 cars for use by delegates.
Decisive matches of the African Champions League (ACL) were played over the weekend to determine the semi-finalists for the continent's top club event.
In Group B, . The two teams had many opportunities to score during the first 50 minutes of the match, but good play by the defenders and goalkeepers, as well as poor shooting, kept the score 0-0. The Tunisians finally went ahead when Emeka Opara hammered in the first goal of the match. Only three minutes later, Marouane Bokri shot a volley from 30m into the net, stunning the Egyptian goalie. Zamalek managed one goal in the 64th minute.
In the other match in the same group ASEC defeated Esperance 1-0 on the strength of Abdramane Diaby's goal in the last minute. Etoile and Zamalek took the top spots in the group and will play in the semi-finals.
The big surprise came in Group A, where defending champion Enyimba of Nigeria was eliminated from the tournament by losing its away game with Al-Ahly 2-1. The Egyptians retained their position at the top of the group. Morocco's Raja Casablanca defeated Ajax of South Africa 3-0 and finished second in the group.
In the semifinals, Zamalek will play Al-Ahly and Raja will meet Etoile. The first matches will take place on 23 and 25 September and the return games are scheduled for 14 and 16 October.
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