Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Who were Africa's top performers across the world this weekend?

Who were Africa's top performers across the world this weekend?

Which of Africa's players shone across the world this weekend?

Cedric Bakambu was arguably Africa's outstanding performer of the week when he struck a hat-trick in Villarreal's 3-0 victory over Eibar.

The Congolese frontman is cultivating a reputation as something of a flat-track bully, but few Yellow Submarine fans will care as he takes his tally to five in six in the league so far this term after netting his first hat-trick for the club.

The forward's intelligent movement and pace makes him a lethal prospect in the Spanish top flight - when on song - and only Lionel Messi and Simone Zaza stand ahead of the former Sochaux man in the scoring charts heading into the international break.

Dominique Badji Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Dominique Badji: Last month, Colorado Rapids interim coach Steve Cooke insistedthat the Senegal frontman could hit double figures on terms of goals this term and be one of the club's top scorer for many years to come.

It was easy to be sceptical, with the 24-year-old netting just eight goals in 46 Major League Soccer appearances during his first two campaigns.

This year, however, he demonstrated another string to his bow when he contributed an assist for Alan Gordon's 81st-minute winner with a fine low cross as Rapids beat Montreal Impact 2-1 at home.

Sofyan Amrabat of Feyenoord EPA/CIRO FUSCO

Sofyan Amrabat: When Feyenoord were smashed 4-0 at home by Manchester City in their Champions League group stage opener, there weren't too many of the Dutch champions who emerged with much credit.

Amrabat, featuring on the right flank, was one of a few exceptions, regardless of the fact that he was making his debut in the competition proper.

A summer signing from FC Utrecht, the Morocco international featured across the midfield last term, but was called upon to play at right-back for the trip to AZ Alkmaar on Sunday.

The 21-year-old delivered an outstanding display - belying the fact that was playing out of position - and contributed an assist in a magnificent 4-0 victory.

Ola Aina of Hull City BackpagePix

Ola Aina has been consistently excellent for Hull City this season after signing from Chelsea on loan during the transfer window.

The 20-year-old Nigerian defender had played just 25 minutes of league action for his parent club before this term, but has demonstrated both his improving defensive maturity and a willingness to press forward and contribute to the attack.

He contributed an assist at the weekend as the Tigers demolished hapless Birmingham City 6-1 at home, ending their recent winless run in emphatic style.

Adamo Di Loreto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kalidou Koulibaly: Only two clubs across Europe's major leagues head into the international break with a 100 percent in domestic competition - Barcelona and Napoli.

Maurizio Sarri's side remain Europe's great entertainers - they've netted 25 goals in their seven Serie A games so far - but their progress has been built on a magnificent defence.

As well as delivering a commanding defensive display at home against Cagliari on Sunday, Senegal's Koulibaly also netted the home side's third in a 3-0 victory, and averaged a pass accuracy of 98.9 % -- better than any of Napoli's other starters.

The centre-back also registered a team-high three tackles and three interceptions during an excellent all-round display, which reaffirmed his status as one of Serie A's pre-eminent centre-backs today.


Next two matches could be defining for Steve Komphela

The next two league matches could determine the future of under-fire Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela, who had to endure another barrage of abuse from unhappy fans after the 2-1 loss to Baroka FC on Saturday night.

Chiefs now have a two-and-a-half week break from action as international football and then the MTN8 final take centre-stage, but then have an away clash with Mamelodi Sundowns on October 17 and a Soweto Derby with Orlando Pirates four days later.

Defeats in both, a realistic proposition given their recent inconsistent form, and Komphela's position would then look untenable. Victories in those two fixtures would silence the doubters, while avoiding defeat to archrivals Pirates at least.

Chiefs have won just three of their previous 15 matches in all competitions dating back to April. They have six draws and six defeats in that run as well. It is a run of form that would have seen the back of many a Chiefs coach in the past, but the club has shown patience in the hope that Komphela, who has yet to win silverware after two full seasons in charge, can turn things around.

It has been said many times before, but is worth repeating, that he has not been helped by the club's recruitment policy in the transfer market that has been underwhelming to say the least and given him little to work with.

He accepts that his position comes with pressure and while he may have been taken back by some of the anger expressed at him by the crowd in the most recent loss to Baroka, he believes it is borne not from a dislike of him personally, but rather frustration at the form of the team.

"It's about this job, you've got to take it. When they [the fans] voice their opinion, you have to be frank and say, 'They are not happy with the result'," Komphela said after the match. "Do you think they hate you? Well, something else but you, because they love their team and you deal with it.

Steve Komphela of Kaizer Chiefs Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

"There's nothing you can do about what is said about you. The only thing you are in charge of is how you handle yourself. You still have to be dignified and stay focused, have respect and also have respect for them. You can't control anger from outside, but you can control your emotions in terms of redirecting that anger and maybe showing some light."

The problem for Komphela is just how he can turn around the fortunes of the team. Taking a much more defensive attitude brought wins against Cape Town City and Maritzburg United, both with a good slice of luck, but is not a long-term solution for the team.

Since the start of the season they have scored only eight goals in eight games and are in desperate need of a striker or two to partner Venezuelan Gustavo Paez. They do not have the consistency to win the league and Komphela will know that another season without any silverware will signal the end of his stay at Naturena.

He will have another chance to achieve that with the start of the Telkom Knockout at the end of this month, though it is also a competition where an early exit will put him under even more pressure.

Komphela is well aware of this and for him the task is now to find solutions. But hecould not have two tougher fixtures in the horizon on which to do so, especially if Pirates sense their weakness and go for the jugular.

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