‘African Football League’ limps to lift off with just 8 teams as Super League plan evaporates

By Samindra Kunti

August 30 – African football’s governing body has revealed details for a slimmed-down Super League, the ‘African Football League’, that will see eight clubs compete in 14 matches for the new prize.

With a limited format and a new name, the ‘African Football League’ is a diluted version of the Super League, a competition that Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe, on the behest of FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, promoted as a game changer for the continent, but those plans have taken a dent.

In the end, just eight clubs will compete, instead of 24. They are Egypt’s Al Ahly, Tunisia’s Espérance and Morocco’s Wydad, Nigeria’s Enyimba DRCongo’s TP Mazembe, South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, Angola’s Atlético Petróleos de Luanda and Tanzania’s Simba, the host club with the tournament taking place from October 20 to November 5 in the East African country.

“The draw for the Inaugural AFL competition will be held in Cairo, Egypt, on 2 September 2023, at 19H00, Cairo Time and will be streamed live on the AFL website and televised by CAF’s broadcast partners,” said CAF in a statement.

“The fixtures of the Inaugural AFL competition are structured on a home and away basis. The competition starts with knock-out quarter finals and will be followed by the semi-finals and the final; all of which are played over two legs.”

CAF said that the competition is a partnership between the confederation and world federation FIFA.

FIFA’s chief commercial officer Romy Gai, and consultants Andrea Sartori and Eno Polo were reportedly among those tasked with executing plans for the Super League.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has long been keen on a Super League on the continent as a feeder competition for FIFA’s enlarged Club World Cup, but details on funding, prize money and broadcasting of the African Football League remain scant.

Last year, at the CAF general assembly in Tanzania, Motsepe projected the competition in a 24-team format would generate $200 million per year with $100 million going into prize money to the participating clubs as well as the other member associations.

The South African billionaire, whose family owns Mamelodi Sundowns, repeatedly said that it was a matter of engaging the private sector with “huge interest from broadcasters and sponsors”, but Motsepe never revealed any details.

Wednesday’s statement also failed to disclose the prize money for the competition, even though Motsepe said in Tanzania the winners would receive $11.5 million.

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