It’s no news that the CAF Champions League is an annual continental club football competition run by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and is one of the best if not the best CAF competitions on the continent of Africa.
The continent elite competition return this weekend in the group stage matches as three of the recent past winners Wydad Casablanca (2017), TP Mazembe (2015), and Zamalek (2002 ) with one finalist USM Alger’s will be on parade to once again lunch an assault to the continent elite tournament.
This season edition has started on a good note for some of the contenders while some of them still haven’t gotten their groove right, so therefore in this piece, Cheapgoals is taking a look at 5 teams that are most likely to win the competition, based on their record, current form, and consistency.
Name: Esperance De Tunis
Manager: Moine Chaabani
The narrative about how the ‘El Taraji‘ won the last edition of the competition against Wydad, will always come to the fore, but then their antecedent, form, and consistency in the tournament can’t be pushed aside.
Although both clubs did appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which in the end found out that the earlier decision made by CAF Executive committees were wrong and they were later ordered that the case should be heard by CAF’s Disciplinary Committee, who now ruled that the Moroccan side Wydad is considered to have lost the second leg, handing Esperance the trophy.
Esperance is the fourth team after Al Ahly, TP Mazembe, and Enyimba of Nigeria to achieve a back to back Champions League triumphs, which they won against Wydad Casablanca in a controversial manner.
Talking about their form, their last five matches have comes with a lot of aplomb against each of their opponents, critically against fellow league contenders and a very tough teams, Etoile Du Sahel which they did ground out a one-nil win, and on Sunday against Club Africain which they won 2-1
And by going through their 2019 CAF campaign unbeaten, equalling the achievement of the 1994 squad and becoming the first club to win the competition twice without losing a match, as such it will be a bit difficult to not look at the Moine Chaabani led side to likely coast home with the CAF title this season with the kind of form they are riding on now, as they currently top Group D with 10 points winning three matches, and draw only one.
We could only wait to see how things would unfold at the end of the competition.
READ ALSO: Top 8 African Clubs Of The Decade
Name: TP Mazembe
Country: DR Congo
Manager: Mihayo Kazembe
TP Mazembe would be looking to continue its success on the continent once again in this year’s edition of the CAF Champions League.
Mazembe joined Zamalek of Egypt as the second most successful side in the tournament’s history, behind eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt when they won it in 2015, as such they’re currently riding on that record in other to lunch an assault to this year edition once again.
The last time ‘The Ravens‘ won the continent most coveted competition was in 2015 against Algerian opponent USM Alger, as they were crowned Africa Champions in a match that ended 2-0 in the second leg of the final with goals from Mbwana Samatta and Roger Assale in front of their home crowd in Lubumbashi, and Mazembe coated home with a 4-1 triumph on aggregate under their former manager Patrice Carteron.
Although this season edition is still very much young, as it is still in the group stage matches, however, Mazembe would want to continue from where they stopped in their last match against P’De Agosto of Angola, when they face off with the Eygptian giant Zamalek and five times champions.
Kazembe led side, are also on a good run of form both in domestic league and on the continent, away from this weekend in Cairo they would be looking to upset Zamalek in front of their home fans, and also to add to their leading 10 points in Group A haven’t played four matches, winning three and draw one so far in their group.
The Ravens, as they are usually called will also be meeting with their former manager Patrice Carteron when the match kicks off, however, only time would tell if they could actually go on to win this season edition.
Name: Mamelodi Sundown
Country: South Africa
Manager: Pitso Mosimane
The journey for success in the CAF champions league started for the ‘Brazilian’ in 2001 when they got to the final of the competition, but lost to Al Ahly of Egypt 4-1 both home and away.
Since then, the South Africa side have never rest on their oar as they kept knocking on the door. In 2016, the hard work they’ve invested in winning the competition came to fore when they defeated Zamalek 3-1 on aggregate and they went on to be crowned Champions of Africa for the first time in their history.
Last season, Pitso Mosimane led also launched an assault at the competition once again, but couldn’t get past the semi-final. Though this season edition is still in the group stage, as such the 2019-2020 edition might be that perfect time for the Brazilian to win a trophy again.
Whether they would be able to pull the chestnut out of the fire going forward in the tournament, only time would time as they go away from home to continue their quest in winning the tournament against P’De Agosto.
Name: Etoile Du Sahel
Manager: Juan Carlos Garrido
Etoile Sahel enjoyed an extraordinary run of success in recent years, most notably in African club competition, where they reached the final of a major competition.
The high point came in 2007, with success in the CAF champions league as they went on to win the continent’s top competition which elevated the club to one of the best Africa’s elite club in history, and also established Etoile as the only team who have won every single major CAF trophies.
The 2007 CAF champions league final was the 43rd edition of Africa’s premier club football tournament, which was played between Etoile Du Sahel and Al Ahly, after a goal-less in the first leg, Etoile went on to win the final 3-1 away from home in the second leg at Cairo to win their first CAF champions league title.
The ‘Red and Whites‘ would be looking to upset the odds this season, as they would be gunning for another moment of joy in the competition, however, they lead their group with 9 points, played four matches, won three and draw one in the same group with their 2007 final opponent Al Ahly.
Would they go all out to add to their success on the continent this season? only time would tell.
Name: Al Ahly
Manager: René Weiler
Eight-time champion Al Ahly would be looking to rewrite their name once again in the history of the competition this season in the CAF champions league.
The ‘Red Devils’ won the trophy back to back in the year 2012 and 2013 against South African opponent Orlando Pirates where they won 2-0 in the second leg, after a 1-1 draw in the first leg to made them the most successful club side to win the title eight times.
Based on their record in the competition, the Rene Weiler led side will want to leverage on their current form in their league where they currently top the log with 36 points, with 12 games played so far, the Egyptian are in the same group with another rival on the continent Etoile Du Sahel who tops the group with 9 points and Al Ahly in the second position with 7 point.
The Egyptian side would continue their quest for another hope of success in the Champions League against Etoile this weekend, how far they could go in the tournament would be determined on their consistency and precision in front of goal, but then we could only wait till the end of the competition, perhaps they would go on to win it again to make it record a 9 times.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
READ ALSO: Mosengo-Omba Is CAF New General Secretary
The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.