Memory Lane With Jerry Udoh On CAF Inter Club Competitions

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THE CAF INTER CLUB COMPETITIONS

The Confederation of African football is regarded as third in the football hierarchy of FIFA Confederations as regards the round leather game, rated below only UEFA and CONMEBOL, she also has the highest federations in FIFA, 54 in all.

Since its formation on the 10th of February 1957, CAF has grown in leaps and bounds in association football both at international (national team) level and inter club football competitions, this article will however, focus more on the major club competitions in the continent.

So improved is the continent’s club football that TP Mazembe of DR Congo reached the final of the FIFA club world cup in 2010 losing to Inter Milan of Italy, Egyptian giants, Al Ahly(Africa’s greatest clubside) also got as far as the semi final of of the club mundial.

The continent’s flagship club competition started as the African club champions cup in the 1964/65 season (known then as the Ahmed Sekou Toure’s cup, named after the first indigenous president of Guinea at independent on the 2nd of April 1958 for his immense support to the body), Orits Douala of Cameroon are the first winners of this prestigious trophy which later became the money spinning CAF champions league in the 1997/98 season. Egyptian side, Al Ahly (formerly called Al Ahly nalionale, founded in 1907) remains the most successful side in the biggest club soccer tournament in Africa with 9 titles.

Ahly’s compatriots, Al Zamalek and DR Congo’s TP Mazembe have 5 titles apiece in second place, while Tunisia’s Esperance du Sportive has 4 titles. Generally, the Magrebs (north Africans) have dominated the winners chat with more successes,

Ahly are without doubt the biggest brand in the continent, apart from been from the continent’s most successful sporting nation, they have 44 Egyptian domestic league titles (the highest league success by any African side), 38 national cup and 12 super cup titles, they are also rated as third in international club titles won, next only to Real Madrid(with 27 titles) and Athletic club de Boca Juniors of Argentina (with 24 ), Ahly has 23.

Aside winning the champions league, Ahly is also the most successful side in the second tier competition, the cup winners cup(the Nelson Mandela’s cup, named after one of Africa’s greatest pan Africanist), though this competition is now moribund, Ahly has 4 titles in the competition that started in the 1974/75 season with another Cameroonian side, Tonnere Kalala emerging the maiden champions, Egypt’s El Makaloon Arab (formerly Arab Contractors) and African Sports Nationale of Ivory Coast has 3 titles apiece.

Then there is the CAF CUP (known also as the MKO Abiola’s cup, ascribed to Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the pillar of sports in Africa, who donated the trophy), this competition started in the 1991/92 season with Nigeria’s Shooting Stars Sports Club (formerly IICC Shooting Stars) wining the inaugural edition, however, Tunisia’a Etoile Sportive du Sahel are the most successful with 3 titles, and the duo of TP Mazembe and Tunisia’s Club African has 2 titles each.

The winners cup and the CAF cup was meshed in the 2003 /2004 season with Etoile and Morocco’s Raja Casablanca respectively winning the last editions in 2003, the competition now became what is presently known as the CAF confederation cup, Ghana’s Accra Heart of Oak clinched its first edition while Tunisia’s CA Bixenti is the highest winners with 3 triumphs. The champions league and confederation cup winners meet each other since 1993/94 season in the CAF super cup, with African Sports of Ivory Coast winning its maiden edition, but Al Ahly is the best of them all with 7 titles as Zamalek has 5 and TP Mazembe has 4.

Current champions league holders, Wydad Athletic Club will host Berkame in an all Moroccan super cup clash for this season’s edition. As CAF plans the $100m worth Super League, it is expedient to say African club football has come a long way even if a lot still needs to be done.

Written by Jerry Udoh
From Jos, Plateau State.

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