Everything You Need To Know About The AFrican Football League

Here's everything you need to know about Africa's ground-breaking club competition, the African Football League (AFL).

The African football league also known as the AFL, is an annual continental club competition between top-ranked Clubs from different African countries. 

The competition was created by the African football governing body CAF with support from FIFA. 

The inaugural edition of The African Football League kicked off on October 20, 2023. 

Everything You Need To Know About The AFrican Football League

Everything You Need to Know About the African Football League 

The initial announcement was made by FIFA President Gianni Infantino on November 28th 2019 during his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Legendary Congolese Club TP Mazembe. 

During his visit to Congo, the FIFA President proposed that top-ranked African clubs should be chosen and made to participate in an ELITE Competition.

Gianni Infantino also revealed that the new competition could generate up to 100 million dollars in revenue, a feat which will elevate the league to the top ten most lucrative football leagues Worldwide.

African Football Federation President Patrice Motsepe confirmed plans of the African Super League on July 17 2021. 

When was The African Football League Launched?

The African Football league made its first steps, initially as the African Super League on August 10th 2022 in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The competition was structured to include twenty-four Elite African Clubs drawn in three groups of eight. 

The teams in each group were to compete against each other in Championship style at the end of which there was to be promotion and relegation of teams.

From African Super League to African Football League

On the 9th of June 2023, CAF President Patrice Motsepe in an Interview with beIN Sports, announced that the competition will henceforth be called The African Football League and not the African Super League as initially agreed. 

“our friends in Europe advised us not to use the expression ‘Super League’ due to the negative associations with the recent failed attempt in European football”. Motsepe said.

During the CAF General Assembly of June 13th in Abidjan, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino announced the scaling down of teams from twenty-four to eight for the inaugural edition. 

This set into motion a series of events which culminated in the inaugural African Football League game between Simba SC of Tanzania and Al Ahly of Egypt.

Which Teams are Taking Part in the First Ever Edition of the African Football League?

The teams taking part in the first edition of the AFL are: Simba SC (Tanzania), Al Ahly (Egypt), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Enyimba FC (Nigeria), Wydad Casablanca (morocco), Mamelodi Sundowns FC (South Africa), Esperance Sportive de Tunis (Tunisia), Atletico Petroleos de Luanda (Angola) 

What is the Criteria of Selecting the African Football League Teams?

The eight teams taking part in the inaugural edition of the African Football League were selected from three regional factions of CAF (Central-West Africa), South-East Africa and North Africa.

The selection was based on the 2023 CAF club rankings. 

North African Representatives

There are three representatives from North Africa:

  • Al Ahly of Egypt who are the record winners of the CAF Champions League having won the continental crown 11 times.
  • Esperance of Tunis have won the CAF Champions League 4 times
  • Wydad Casablanca have won the CAF Champions League 5 times

Central-West African Representatives

The Central-West African representatives are:
  • Enyimba SC (Nigeria)
  • TP Mazembe ( DR Congo)

South-East African Representatives

three Clubs are represented from this faction:
  • Mamelodi Sundowns who are Two times winners of the CAF Champions League
  • Simba SC (Tanzania)
  • Petroleos de Luanda (Angola)

Having produced some of the world’s best football players, the African continent still lags behind other continents in terms of popularity, quality of play and general appeal of their club competitions.

The coming of the African football league could be the turning point for African Club football with the potential of attracting much needed investment into the continent.

Through the African Football League, CAF and FIFA hope to take the very best African Club sides to unchartered global waters. 

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What is the Format of the African Football League?

The African football league will be played in a knockout format which consists of the quarter final, semifinal and finals with each tie to be played in two legs, home and away. 

The final of the African Football League will be played on the 5th and 11th of November, 2023

What is the Prize Money of the African Football League?

The winners of the 2023 edition of the African Football League will walk away with a cash prize of $4 million. 

All participating teams will have a take-home package of $1 million. 

The semifinalist will be rewarded $1.7 million while the runners up will leave the competition with the sum of $3 million 

Participating clubs are required have a youth academy and women’s team. 

Schedule/Fixtures of the African Football League

Everything You Need To Know About The AFrican Football League

The first and second legs of the quarter finals were played between the the 20th and 26th of October 2023.

The first leg of the semifinal games will be played as from October 29 2023 where Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) will take on Egyptian side Al Ahly in the first game.

Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) locks horns with Esperance Tunis (Tunisia) immediately after.

The Second legs will be played on Wednesday 1st November, 2023

Al Ahly (Egypt) vs Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)

Esperance Tunis (Tunisia) vs Wydad Casablanca. 

The final of the Inaugural Edition of the African Football League will be played on the 5th and 11th of November, 2023

The competition will run along other continental competitions such at the CAF Confederation Cup and the CAF Champions league. 

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