October 20 – CAF president Patrice Motsepe has vowed that the African Football League (AFL) that kicks off on Friday in Tanzania will be a game changer for African football, but failed to explain where the prize money comes from.
Speaking on Friday in Dar es Salaam, Motsepe argued that the African Football League, a scaled-down version of the Super League, will improve and reshape the continent’s game.
“You have to see the AFL within the context of our goals and objectives. Part of what we are trying to achieve is at the club level that we want African clubs to be competitive globally – when they participate in FIFA club competitions,” said Motsepe.
“The AFL will significantly improve the quality of the other CAF competitions, including the CAF club competitions. It will have a huge contribution to the improvement of national team football.”
He also said that CAF’s other club competitions will benefit and that the governing body will review those other competitions as well.
However, the competition has struggled to capture the imagination and in terms of broadcast is being propped up by FIFA’s own streaming service FIFA+. With the addition of the last-minute deal announced today by beIN SPORTS, the only other broadcast deals are for South Africa, the United Kingdom and Tanzania.
The boss of African football promised that next year the AFL will feature 24 teams, as foreseen in some of the original Super League plans. The AFL’s prize money stands at $14,4 million, a meager total compared to the $100 million Motsepe had promised for the Super League. With CAF’s finances in dire straits Motsepe failed to clarify how the governing body was financing the prize money.
“We pray very hard, it comes from heaven,” he quipped.
He later added: “It is money that comes from our own sponsors” and that the “the sponsors are seeing huge value”.
Yet, Motsepe, who has long claimed that CAF is always in talks with the private industry, can’t ignore the fact that the AFL has just two sponsors, both of which are state-backed – Visit Rwanda and Visit Saudi.
Motsepe and FIFA president Gianni Infantino are in Tanzania to attend the opening game between host club Simba and Egypt’s Al Ahly. The other quarter-finals are TP Mazembe – Esperance de Tunis, Enyimba – Wydad and Petro de Luanda – Mamelodi Sundowns. The final will be played on November 5.
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