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African Football League: A Look Into the 8 Teams Expected to Compete in the Tournament

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The African Football League is the newest club competition in Africa. The idea was initially fronted in 2018 by FIFA President Gianni Infantino. It was then taken up by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Patrice Motsepe in October 2022. It’s expected to be the premiere football competition that’ll drive more revenue and boost attraction to African football

The League was launched in August 2022 and is expected to start on October 20, 2023. Initially, 24 teams were expected to participate in the tournament, but due to financial losses by CAF, it’s been shrunk to eight. Which teams will compete in the competition?  

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Al Ahly

Egyptian Club Al Ahly SC celebrating another trophy. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Egyptian giants are one of the eight teams that’ll compete in the inaugural edition of the Africa Football League. It’s the most successful club in Egypt, having won 43 domestic league titles and 24 continental trophies. Out of the 24, 11 are CAF Champions League making them the best-performing club in Africa. This explains why they’ve been invited to this new competition.  

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Atletico Petroleos de Luanda

The Angolan club is the only other outfit in the African Football League that’s yet to win the CAF Champions League. They came close to lifting the trophy in 2001 when they reached the semi-finals. 

Atletico has made 10 appearances in the competition, the last being in 2021/22. Additionally, the side has participated in the CAF Confederations Cup nine times and the CAF Winners Cup four times. 

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Enyimba

Nigerian club Enyimba F.C. clinched back-to-back CAF Champions League titles in 2003 and 2004. They regularly make appearances in the tournament, their last being in 2020. Enyimba has played in the CAF Confederations Cup four times, with the semi-finals being the highest finish. 

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Esperance of Tunisia

The Tunisian giants are four-time winners of the CAF Champions League. They clinched the title in 1994, 2011, 2018 and 2019. Esperance won its 32nd league title in 2021/22 to further rubber-stamp their status as the country’s best club. They’ve won the CAF Super Cup and African Cup Winners Cup once.

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Mamelodi Sundowns

South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns will be the country’s sole representative in the Africa Football League. They are one-time winners of the CAF Champions League, having won the tournament in 2016. 

They were named the African Club of the Year in the same year. The other continental title Mamelodi Sundowns has won is the CAF Super Cup.

Simba SC

Tanzanian club Simba SC celebrating a goal. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Tanzanian giants Simba SC have never won the CAF Champions League. The closest they’ve come to winning the competition is a semi-final finish in their first appearance in 1973/74. 

Simba SC is still in the tournament this season (2023/24). The club has also played in the CAF Confederations Cup, with their furthest finish being quarter-finals in 2021/22.  

TP Mazembe

Democratic Republic of Congo club TP Mazembe. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

 Democratic Republic of Congo club TP Mazembe has conquered African football five times (1967, 1968, 2009, 2010, and 2015). Since their last title, the furthest they’ve gone is the semi-final stage in 2018/19. 

The club is also a two-time winner of the CAF Confederations Cup and a three-time CAF Super Cup champion. Domestically, TP Mazembe has won a record 19 titles.

Wydad Casablanca

Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wydad Casablanca will represent Morocco in the African Football League. The club has won the CAF Champions League three times (1992, 2017, and 2022), the CAF Super Cup, and the Africa Winners Cup once. Wydad is the most decorated club in Morocco.

The teams that make up the African Football League are the most successful at the continental or domestic level. Its formation hasn’t been without its critics, but CAF President Motsepe remains optimistic about its chances of improving African football. Are you eager to watch one of Africa’s most anticipated football tournaments?

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