July's African football news in brief

Chadrac Akolo
Chadrac Akolo played for DR Congo at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt

African football stories in short for July.

Wednesday 31 July:

DR Congo international Chadrac Akolo has joined French Ligue 1 club Amiens on a season-long loan from German side VFB Stuttgart, with a three-year purchase option.

The 24-year-old midfielder played in two of DR Congo's four matches at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt where they were knocked out by Madagascar in the round of 16.

He had spells with Swiss clubs FC Sion and Xamax Neuchatel before moving to Germany where he played in the Bundlesliga for Stuttgart in last two seasons.

Akolo featured in 38 games for Stuttgart, including 16 in the 2018/2019 season.

Africa cup of Nations winner Mehdi Tahrat of Algeria has left French club Lens to join Saudi Arabia outfit Abha Club on a two-year deal.

The 26-year central defender made 24 appearances in ligue 2 last season for Lens.

He has had stints with several other French clubs including Valenciennes and Angers.

Tahrat was born in France but has committed his international future to his country of origin Algeria whom he helped to the win this year's Africa Nations Cup in Egypt having played two of the Desert Foxes' matches, including the final against Senegal.

Madagascar defender Thomas Fontaine has moved to French club Lorient from Ligue 1 side Reims until June 2022.

The 28-year-old struggled for playing time last season at Reims, featuring in only seven Ligue 1 matches.

Fontaine spent four seasons with former French champions Lyon where he started his professional career and has also featured for other French clubs Tours, Auxerre and Clermont.

He helped Madagascar reach the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, playing every minute of their five matches at the tournament.

Tuesday 30 July:

Egyptian side Pyramids have announced the signing of Ghanaian player John Antwi from Misr El Makassa.

Antwi wrote his name in the history books last November when he became the top foreign goal scorer in Egyptian football with 63.

The 26-year-old, who was also a target for Zamalek, becomes the six signing for Pyramids this transfer window after Islam Issa, Ahmed Ali, Tarek Taha, Mohamed Atwa and Mahmoud Hamda.

DR Congo forward Ben Malango has signed a three-year deal with Moroccan side Raja Casablanca from TP Mazembe.

The 25-year-old has been signed as replacement for Moroccan striker Mouhcine Iajour, who moved to Saudi Arabia earlier in July, after finishing as the top scorer in the league last season.

He is Raja's sixth recruit this off-season alongside compatriot Fabrice Ngoma as well as Mohsine Moutouali, Omar Arjoun, Salif Coulibaly and Hamid Ahaddad.

Gabon's Didier Ndong
Gabon's Didier Ndong played in England for three years at Sunderland and Watford

Gabon international Didier Ndong will stay in the French Ligue 1 as he has joined Dijon on a four-year deal.

The 25-year-old signs from Guingamp, who were relegated to the second tier last season.

The former Sunderland, Watford and Lorient midfielder featured for Guingamp in their opening Ligue 2 match, a 3-3 draw with Grenoble Foot 38 last Friday, before he bade farewell.

Ndong featured in all three of Gabon's matches at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations at home and has made a total of 26 appearances for The Panthers.

Veteran Benin defender Khaled Adenon has moved to Saudi Arabia where he has signed a two-year contract with top-flight club Al Wehda.

The 34-year-old was recently released by French club Amiens, who he helped gain promotion to the second tier in 2017 and then to Ligue 1 the following season.

Adenon helped Benin to reach the quarter-final stage of the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where he featured in four of the Squirrels' five matches.

He missed Benin's quarter-final match against Senegal after his red card in their last 16 victory over Morocco on penalities.

Monday 29 July:

Guinea's Mathias Pogba
Mathias Pogba plays international football for Guinea while his younger bother Paul is a World Cup winner with France

The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) has announced the death of former international and coach Peter Bonu Johnson on Sunday, at the age of 56 following a long illness.

After his playing career Johnson served as assistant to former Ghanaian boss Osam Doudo as The Gambia won the 2005 Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations on home soil.

Two years later he the led The Gambia to Under-20 Nations Cup in Congo Brazzaville, where a third-place finish saw them qualify for the World Cup.

At the Under-20 World Cup in Canada wins over Portugal and New Zealand saw his side reach the last 16, where they lost narrowly to Austria.

Johnson also had two stints as coach of the national team in 2012 and again a year later as well as leading The Gambia's team for locally-based players in 2015.

"He has contributed immensely to the growth and development of football in The Gambia and his death is an irreparable loss to our game and the country at large," said GFF president Lamin Kaba Bajo.

Guinea striker Mathias Pogba has signed for Spanish fourth tier league side Manchego Ciudad Real.

However the contract details for the 28-year old brother of Manchester United and France star Paul have not been revealed.

The move marks a return to Spain for Pogba, where he spent his youth career with Celta Vigo.

Pogba played in the French third-tier last season for Tours as he tried to revive his career after a lengthy lay-off.

He only made five league appearances for Tours and three for the club's feeder team in the fifth tier netting two goals.

Manchego are Pogba's ninth professional club including stints for Scottish side Patrick Thistle, Sparta Rotterdam in the Netherlands as well as clubs in France and Italy.

Sunday 28 July:

Jodel Dossou helped Benin reach the quarterfinals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

Benin midfielder Jodel Dossou has returned to Austria after almost a year to join top tier side TSV Hartberg on a two-year deal from Lichtenstein's FC Vaduz.

The 27-year-old made the move ahead of Hartberg's first Austrian Bundesliga game of the season, away to Mattersburg.

Dossou helped Benin reach the quarter-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, playing all five of the Squirrels' games at the tournament.

He previously played for two Austrian clubs, Liefering and Lustenau, as well as Tunisian side Club Africain.

Saturday 27 July:

Algeria international Ryad Boudebouz has joined French Ligue 1 side Saint Etienne on a three-year deal from La Liga club Real Betis.

The 29-year-old midfielder made 21 La Liga appearances last season including 11 for Celta Vigo where he spent the second half of the season on loan.

He committed his international feature to Algeria in 2010 after he represented his country of birth France at youth levels, and has played 25 times for the Desert Foxes including at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and 2014 World Cup.

Guinea's Ibrahima Sory Conte in action for Lorient
Guinea's Ibrahima Sory Conte was ruled out of this year's Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt through injury.

Guinea international defender Ibrahima Sory Conte has returned to French Ligue 2 club Niort on a permanent move from rivals Lorient.

The 23-year-old, who is still recovering from a knee injury, has signed a four-year contract with Niort where he was on loan last season.

He made 18 league appearances and netted two goals last season before suffering a cruciate ligament injury which ruled him out of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Before the injury, Conte had been a regular in Guinea's senior national team, featuring in Syli Nationale's last four matches in the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers.

Friday 26 July:

Egyptian side Ismaily have signed Guinea-Bissau international Piqueti from Al Shoulla in Saudi Arabia on a three-year deal.

The 26-year-old played in all three games for Guinea-Bissau at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt and scored a spectacular solo goal against Cameroon at the 2017 finals.

Before his move to Saudi Arabia Piqueti had played in Portugal for Sporting Braga, Gil Vicente, Marítimo and Académica as well as Italian side Varese.

Moroccan striker Abderrazak Hamdallah has signed a new three-year contract with Saudi Arabian champions Al Nassr FC.

The 28-year-old is rewarded for his record-breaking last season as he scored 34 goals in 30 games.

He missed out on the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt when an apparent injury forced Morocco to replace him shortly before the tournament.

Hamdallah caused controversy during a friendly before the Nations Cup when played he reacted angrily at not being allowed to take a last minute penalty that was missed by Faycal Faj as they lost 1-0 to The Gambia.

The Egypt Football Association has changed its rules about players from North Africa playing in its top division next season.

However it falls short of last August's proposal from the Union of North African Football Federations (UNAF) that players from its five members (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) should not be seen as overseas players.

"Each team in the first division can register 4 foreign players in addition to one from either Palestine or Syrian or a UNAF member from next season," EFA said in a statement.

Senegal international Ousseynou Thioune has signed a two-year contract with French club Sochaux as a free agent.

The 25-year old midfielder spent the second-half of last season with Spanish second tier league club Nastic Tarragona, where he made 18 league appearances.

Thioune, who has been capped six times by Senegal, won the 2018 Moroccan league with Ittihad Tanger before moving to Spain.

French club Nancy have confirmed that Cape Verde international Vagner Dias will have a second spell with them after reaching an agreement with Ligue 1 side Saint Etienne.

However the Ligue 2 side did not clarify whether the move was a loan deal or a permanent move.

The 23-year-old forward was impressive during a loan spell with Nancy in the second half of last season scoring six goals in 18 appearances.

Thursday 25 July:

Ismael Diomande
Ismael Diomande played for Ivory Coast at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Midfielder Ismael Diomande, who helped Ivory Coast to win the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, has joined Turkish club Caykur Rizespor on a two-year deal.

The 26-year-old signed for the Super Lig outfit as a free agent after his contract with relegated French club Caen came to an end.

It is the first time Diomande will be playing his club football away from France where he played for both Saint Etienne and Caen.

He made 18 appearances for Ivory Coast, including his match at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil against Greece which the Elephants lost 2-1.

Benin international Sessi D'Almeida has returned to France to join Valenciennes from English lower division side Yeovil Town.

"Welcome to VA, Sessi!" Valenciennes wrote on social media.

The 23-year-old was a member of the Benin national team that reached the quarter-final stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

The former Bordeaux player has made 11 appearances so far for the Squirrels.

Wednesday 24 July:

Senegal forward Sada Thioub has joined French Ligue 1 side Angers on a four-year deal from rivals Nimes.

The 24-year-old was part of the Senegal team that finished as runners-up at the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Thioub featured in all of Nimes' 38 league matches last season scoring three goals.

The France-born player made his debut for the Teranga Lions in a 2-0 win at home to Madagascar in the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers, four months ago after he committed his international feature to Senegal.

Tuesday 23 July:

Senegal's Papy Djilobodji playing for Guingamp
Senegal's Papy Djilobodji has left French club Guingamp to move to Turkey

Algeria international Soufiane Hanni has joined Qatari club Al Gharafa from Russian side Spartak Moscow.

The 28-year-old has played 12 times for Algeria but was not part of the squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Another player to miss out on the Nations Cup on the move is Senegal defender Papy Djilobodji, who has joined newly promoted Turkish top-flight club Gazisehir.

Djilobodji, 30, has signed a two-year deal as he moves from Guingamp in France.

Former Cameroon under-17 goalkeeper Boris Essele has signed his first professional deal with French Ligue 1 side Amiens.

The 19-year-old will be the third choice keeper at the club as he joins on a four-year deal from Cameroon's Nkufo Academy.

Monday 22 July:

Tunisia's Ghaylen Chaaleli
Ghaylen Chaaleli was part of Tunisia's squad at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 World Cup

Tunisia midfielder Ghaylen Chaaleli has signed a three-year deal with Turkish club Malatyaspor.

The 25-year-old joins from Tunisian side Esperance, where he had spent five years.

He played in six of the Carthage Eagles seven matches at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt as Tunisia finished in fourth place and was part of the squad at the 2018 World Cup.

Chaaleli joins Zimbabwe's Teenage Hadebe at the Turkish side after the 23-year-old signed on 15 July.

Sunday 21 July:

Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui
Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui played for Cameroon at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt

Cameroon midfielder Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui has joined Belgian club Gent on a four-year deal from Czech champions Slavia Prague.

"We warmly welcome Michael to the Buffalos," Gent said in a statement on their website.

The 28-year-old, who won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon, helped Slavia Prague to a league and cup double last season.

Ngadju started his career with Cameroonian side Canon Yaounde before heading to Europe and has featured 20 times for Cameroon's Indomitable Lions, netting two goals.

Senegal international Kara Mbodj has left Belgian giants Anderlecht to join Qatari top flight league club Al-Sailiya on a three-year contract.

The defender had been on a season-long loan to French club Nantes last season but controversially cut it short and returned to Anderlecht due to a lack of playing time.

He featured only six times for Nantes and later made 17 appearances for Anderlecht.

Mbodj has been capped 45 times by Senegal, scoring five goals.

Friday 19 July:

Mali international Molla Wague has returned to France to join Ligue 1 Nantes on a three-year deal from Serie A side Udinese.

Wague played in every match during Mali's Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Egypt, before their loss to Ivory Coast in the last-16.

He spent the second half of last season on loan to Nottingham Forest from Udinese who had also previously loaned him out to Watford.

Molla Wague
Molla Wague captained Mali during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Egypt

Wague has also had spells with French club Caen and Spanish side Granada.

Born in France, he played for the French Under-19s before committing his international feature to Mali who he has represented 34 times.

Wednesday 17 July:

Togo international Alaixys Romao's contract with French Ligue 1 side Reims has been extended until 2021.

The 35-year-old midfielder joined Reims last season and featured in 36 of the club's 38 league games in their last campaign.

"It was important to extend Alaixys Romao's contract even though the discussions were simple as the desire to continue the adventure was shared," the director general of Reims, Mathieu Lacour, told the club's website.

Born in France, Romao featured for the French Under-18s before he switched allegiance to Togo whom he has represented 67 times - including twice at the 2006 World Cup.

Burkina Faso captain and the country's most capped player, Charles Kabore, has joined Russian side Dynamo Moscow on a two-year deal as a free agent.

"Burkina Faso midfielder Charles Kabore joined Dynamo and already held the first training session," Dynamo Moscow announced on social media.

The 31-year-old former Olympique Marseille player has been playing in Russia since 2013 and has made a total of 149 league appearances including 24 for Krasnodar last season.

Kabore has featured 92 times for Burkina Faso, scoring four goals.

Sunday 14 July:

Former Senegal international Mohamed Diame has joined Qatari top flight league Al-Ahli on a two-year deal after three seasons with English Premier league club Newcastle.

The 32-year-old midfielder made 29 league appearances for Newcastle last season but was one start short of triggering a contract extension for another season with the Magpies.

Diame has had spells with other English clubs West Ham United, Hull City and Wigan Athletic and Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano.

Born in France, he decided to represent Senegal in 2011 and went on to make 31 appearances for the Teranga Lions before he retired from international football in March 2017.

The first Sierra Leone Premier league season in five years has come to an end.

It was the first season after the outbreak and end of the deadly Ebola virus disease in the West African country.

The league was won by the Sierra Leonean giants and country's most popular club East End Lions who went through the entire season of 24 matches unbeaten, to set a record.

The league, which lasted for close to six months, recorded the highest turnout of spectators at match venues in nearly three decades of domestic competition.

There was no league in Sierra Leone largely because of internal wranglings within the country's football association.

Sunday 7 July:

Morocco's Youssef El-Arabi moves to Greece having scored 74 goals in just 59 games for Qatar's Al-Duhail

French-born Moroccan international Youssef El-Arabi has signed a three-year contract with Greek club Olympiakos for an undisclosed fee.

The 32-year-old finished an impressive season with Qatar's Al-Duhail scoring 43 goals in 31 games, but missed out on selection with the Atlas Lions for the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

El-Arabi started his career with French first division side Caen, before moving to Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal and then Granada.

During his three-year stay in Qatar, the forward scored 74 goals in just 59 league games for Al Duhail.

El-Arabi has scored 15 goals in 36 appearances for Morocco since making his debut in 2010.

Saturday 6 July:

Guinean international Sory Kaba has joined Danish top tier league side Midtjylland on a five-year deal from French ligue 1 club Dijon.

The 24-year-old forward was with Syli Nationale at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Kaba spent only six months with Dijon where he made nine Ligue 1 appearances.

He has previously played for Spanish clubs Elche and Alcobendas.

Friday 5 July:

The South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) unveiled Cyprian Besong Ashu as the new head coach of the national team on Friday.

The 49-year-old Cameroon-born German has signed a two-year contract with the SSFA to coach the Bright Stars.

A former senior coach with the Arsenal Academy in London says he is ready to face the new challenge.

Ashu told BBC Sport that his priority is to develop the team and train local coaches in the country.

Faouzi Benzarti returns to Tunisia

Etoile du Sahel announced on Friday the appointment of Faouzi Benzarti as their head coach.

Benzarti has signed a one-year contract with Etoile with the possibility of extending.

The 69-year-old, one of Africa's most experienced coaches, previously took charge of Etoile on three occasions, in 1986, 2006 and 2015.

During his time with Etoile, Benzarti claimed three Tunisian Championships, one FA Cup and two African Confederation Cups.

Benzarti, who most recently was in charge of Wydad Casablanca, succeeds Frenchman Roger Lemerre.

Thursday 4 July:

Algeria international Zinedine Ferhat has signed a three-year deal with French Ligue 1 club Nimes as a free agent.

The 26-year-old winger featured for French Ligue 2 side Le Havre in the last three seasons.

"Nimes is proud and happy to announce the signature of Zinedine Ferhat," the club said in a statement.

Ferhat, who has also previously played for USM Alger, has been capped seven times by Algeria.

French club Toulouse have loaned DR Congo international Firmin Ndombe Mubele to Kazakhstan champions Astana FC.

This means the 25-year-old forward will be playing in the group stages of next season's Uefa Champions League.

He moved to Toulouse from another French club Rennes in January 2018 and made a total of 26 Ligue 1 appearances including 15 last season.

Ndombe has won 44 caps with DR Congo's senior national team, scoring nine goals.

Wednesday 3 July:

Amadou Diawara
Amadou Diawara spent three seasons with Napoli before signing a five-year deal with Roma

Guinea midfielder Amadou Diawara has joined Italian club AS Roma from rivals Napoli on a five-year deal for a fee of US$23.8 million.

The 21-year-old is currently on international duty with Guinea having played all Syli Nationale's three matches so far at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

"We have been following Amadou for a while now," Roma chief executive Guido Fienga told the club website.

"He is a player whose talent has been clear to those in Italy for a number of years."

"We're pleased to welcome him to Roma, with the confidence that he can become an important player for the club."

Diawara, who is also an Italian citizen committed his international future to Guinea last year. He spent three seasons with Napoli and previously featured for another Italian club, Bologna.

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