Africa launches its football “Super League”

Africa has become the first continent to formalize the creation of a “Super League”

Africa launches its football “Super League”

Africa has become the first continent to formalize the creation of a “Super League”. In August, Patrice Motsepe, the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) took advantage of the body's congress to confirm the organization of this new competition from 2023. Finally called the African Football League, it will begin on Friday 20 October with the meeting in Dar es Salaam between the Tanzanians of Simba SC and the Egyptians of Al-Ahly.

The other posters will pit Enyimba Aba (Nigeria) against Wydad Casablanca (Morocco), Tout Puissant Mazembe (DRC) against Esperance sportive de Tunis (Tunisia) and Petro de Luanda (Angola) against Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa). ), the club of which Patrice Motsepe is the owner. The return matches will be played on October 24 and 25, the semi-finals on October 29 and November 1 and the final on November 5 and 11. The winner will receive 3.8 million euros, the finalist 2.8, the semi-finalists 1.6 and the quarter-finalists 945,000 euros.

Initially, this new competition was to involve twenty-four teams, selected according to sporting but also geographical criteria, with the continent divided into three zones, notably for the group stage (north, center and west, south and east). This will be the case in 2024, after CAF has chosen the clubs invited to participate. The prizes will also be increased, with a gain of 5.6 million euros for the winner.

The project to create this competition did not come from Africa, but from FIFA and its president, the Italian-Swiss Gianni Infantino, during two trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo in November 2019 and to Morocco three months later late. An idea to which Patrice Motsepe, elected head of CAF in 2021, quickly rallied.

Many questions

An identical formula had also been considered by twelve European clubs in 2021, among which were Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, ​​Juventus Turin, the two Milan and the two Manchester clubs. This wish, dear to Fiorentino Perez, the president of Real Madrid but contested by UEFA and rejected by a majority of public opinion, attached to the principle of open competitions where the clubs are not always the same, ultimately did not successful.

In Africa, the creation of this third continental competition, after the Champions League and the CAF Cup, has aroused less hostility than in Europe, but nevertheless raises many questions among those involved in continental football.

The Moroccan Rachid Taoussi, former coach of the Atlas Lions, Raja Casablanca and the FAR Rabat, judges that "one should not judge before having seen", but that "questions arise, particularly on the choice of the teams concerned and the already very busy schedule. He also wonders if the clubs which will play the African League will also be able to take part in the two other competitions organized by CAF. Then to conclude that “it would have been preferable to better expose and better promote the Champions League and the CAF Cup”.

The Champions League pays 3.8 million euros to its winner and half of this sum to the finalist. The CAF Cup is less endowed, with €1.9 million for the winner and €945,000 for the runner-up. These allocations have been increased, but they only partially cover the expenses incurred by the clubs, due to high travel costs.

“The idea seems interesting.”

“I have the impression that we have created an elitist competition, where the richest, that is to say the clubs from North Africa and South Africa, will earn more money when those those who do not participate risk becoming impoverished, fears the Senegalese Saer Seck. President of the Diambars club and former president of his country's professional football league, he also fears that with "the principle of a closed league, as is being discussed, we will witness from one year to the next almost always the same posters, which could become boring”.

“I am surprised that this year, we do not find any Algerian club invited, even though our clubs have won numerous continental competitions,” regrets Rabah Madjer, the former striker and coach of the Algerian Fennecs. But more generally, the idea seems interesting, both sportingly and economically. We will have to wait for several editions to get a more precise idea. »

Will this new competition weaken those already existing on the continent? Will it hurt interest in the national championships? In the coming months, CAF should provide answers to the many questions still pending on the contours of the African Football League.