27 November 2012

Zimbabwe/Sudan: Sadomba Breaks Sudan Record

ZIMBABWE international striker Edward Sadomba continued to scale new heights in his career in Sudan with the speedy forward being crowned that country's leading all-time scorer in Confederation of African Football competitions and breaking the 10-year-old record held by Faisal Al Jab.

Sadomba's five goals for Sudanese giants Al Hilal ensured he ended the 2012 Confederation Cup campaign as the joint top scorer with AC Leopards' Rudy Guelord Bhebey-Ndey and Ismaila Diarra, who plays for CO Bamako in Mali.

The Confederation Cup Golden Boot winners were confirmed at the end of the final in which underdogs AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville won after beating Djoliba of Mali 4-3 on aggregate on Sunday.

Djoliba had overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit to upstage Al Hilal 9-8 on penalties in the semi-final and blow Sadomba's hopes of winning the cup.

But it was not all gloomy for the former Dynamos hitman as his goals in the tournament meant he took his continental tally to 23 in the three-and-a-half seasons that he has been at Al Hilal and was rewarded with a trophy by the Sudan Football Association.

The all-time top scoring record in Caf competitions of 20 goals had belonged to veteran El Merreikh striker Al Jab, who had held on to it for the last decade until Sadomba overtook him this year.

Sadomba was also Dynamos top scorer with six goals when the Harare giants reached the 2008 Champions League semi-finals before falling to Cotonsport Garoua of Cameroon.

Although he might have missed out on a Confederation Cup medal, Sadomba, a devout Christian who always attributes his success to God, did well to inspire Al Hilal to the Sudanese championship with the Blue Sharks unbeaten in 26 games in which they won 22 and drew four, claiming the big prize with five points ahead of bitter rivals El Merreikh, who could manage 65 points.

"It's all the work of the Almighty God and I would also like to thank my family, my teammates and the club management for the support they continue to give me.

"It is always great to win titles and even greater to set a new Sudan scoring record in Caf competitions in just three and half seasons in the country," Sadomba said.

Ahli Shandi, who knocked out Hwange out of the Confederation Cup earlier this year, were a distant third with 41 points.

Despite having three teams in the Confederation Cup group stages, none of the Sudanese clubs could secure a place in the final with both Al Hilal and El Merreikh being dumped out at the semi-final stage.

In the end it was surprise packages and Congolese outfit AC Leopards who ran away with the trophy over the weekend.

According to reports from Brazzaville, AC Leopards completed a Confederation Cup fairytale by defeating visiting Djoliba 2-1 to lift the trophy.

The first leg of the second-tier Pan-African club championship final ended 2-2 last weekend, giving Leopards the edge and Sunday's win gave the hosts a 4-3 aggregate victory and Congo-Brazzaville a first Caf club title in 38 years.

Cesaire Gandze broke the deadlock at Stade Denis Sassou Nguesso in the western city of Dolisie midway through the first half, only for Salif Coulibaly to level 11 minutes later.

Rudy Guelord Bhebey-Ndey struck the winner on the stroke of half-time for Leopards, who were eliminated at the last-32 qualifying stage in two previous appearances.

Gandze scored with a powerful drive from inside the penalty area and team-mate Ntela Kalema was foiled by the woodwork before Coulibaly headed home to claim his second goal in as many matches. Bhebey-Ndey netted off an Ulrich Nzamba Mombo cross, and his fifth goal of the competition made him leading scorer with Diarra and Edward Sadomba.

Considered no-hopers when the competition for national cup winners, some league third-place finishers and eight Caf Champions League "drop-outs" began, the workman-like Leopards repeatedly defied the odds under coach Cyril N'Donga.

They overcame Tempete Mocaf of the Central African Republic, CS Sfaxien of Tunisia, Heartland of Nigeria and title holders Moghreb Fes of Morocco in the group phase.

The Congolese finished second behind Djoliba and ahead of Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and Stade Malien of Mali in a mini-league and upset title favourites El Merreikh of Sudan in a tight semi-final.

Leopards pocketed US$660 000 and a shot at Champions League winners Al Ahly of Egypt next year for the African Super Cup while Djoliba will return home US$455 000 richer.

Bamako-based Djoliba have been trying without success since 1967 to win a Caf competition, but gave a much better showing on a second visit to Dolisie in as many months, having crumbled 3-0 in a group fixture.

Other winners of the Confederation Cup include Sfaxien (twice), fellow Tunisians Etoile Sahel, FAR Rabat, FUS Rabat and Moghreb of Morocco, Hearts of Oak of Ghana and Stade Malien.

CARA Brazzaville were the other Congolese club to conquer the continent, winning the 1974 Champions League with 4-2 and 2-1 victories over Al Mehalla of Egypt in the two-leg final.

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