As another decade is gradually rounding off, let do a review of teams in African football who has wow us with their scintillating and breathtaking performance over the years both in the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederations Cup.
The CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup, officially named Total CAF Confederation Cup and Total CAF Champions League respectively is an annual club association football competition organized by the Confederation of African Football since 1964 and 2004 respectively. It is an annual continental club football competition and it is been run by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The top club sides from Africa’s football leagues are invited to participate in this competition, which is the premier club football competition in the continent and it is equivalent to that of the UEFA Champions League in Europe which the fans enjoy anytime it’s being played.
The CAF Confederations Cup is the second tier competition of African club football, which ranks below the CAF Champions League, and the winner of the tournament faces the winner of the CAF Champions League in the following season’s CAF Super Cup, and it was founded as the merger of CAF Cup and African Cup Winner’s Cup, the winner of the tournament earns a place at the FIFA Club World Cup, a tournament that contested between the champion clubs from all six continental confederations.
All of these clubs had really done well for themselves, so let a trip down the years and see what they achieved this decade
Tout Puissant Mazembe, formerly known as Englebert FC, is a Congolese football club based in the city of Lubumbashi, founded in 1939 and their home games are played at the Stade TP Mazembe situated in the suburb of Kamalondo.
For every club sides who plays football, they all have a nickname, and TP Mazembe nickname is Les Corbeaux (The Ravens), TP Mazembe is among the major sports clubs in DR Congo and one of the most successful football teams in Africa ever, meanwhile, their stadium capacity is 18,000.
TP Mazembe gained its great reputation when they defeated Internacional of Brazil in the semifinal of the FIFA Club World Cup, and they became the most successful Congolese club side with 36 national and international titles won.
TP Mazembe has 7 appearances in the African Cup of Champions Clubs from 1967 to 1988 and 16 appearances in the CAF Champions League from 2001 till now. TP Mazembe was also the first team to successfully defend the African Champions Cup, a feat that was finally repeated in 2003 and 2004 by a Nigeria club side Enyimba.
In November 2009, the team won the CAF Champions League against a Nigeria side Heartland FC in a match that ended 2-2 on aggregate but went on to win on the away goals rule. Les Corbeaux, won the CAF Champions League, and that qualified them for the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup. In their first match in the quarter-finals, they lost 2-1 to Pohang Steelers of South Korea, haven’t taken the lead in the first half, and they ended the tournament in 6th position following their 3-2 defeat to Auckland City.
A year later, DR Congo side retained the 2010 CAF Champions League haven’t won it back in 2009, and in December they became the first African side to contest the final of the FIFA Club World Cup after defeating both Pachuca of Mexico 1-0 in the quarter-finals and Internazionale of Brazil 2-0 in the semi-finals, in the final they were beaten 3-0 by Internazionale.
In 2015, TP Mazembe also secured their fifth title in the competition after defeating USM Algers of Algeria 4-1 aggregate in the 2015 CAF Champions League Final. They also have 1 appearance in the CAF Cup in 2000 and 6 appearances in the CAF Confederations Cup from 2004 till now.
TP Mazembe also did wonderfully well in the second tier of the CAF Competitions, which is the CAF Confederations Cup, which they also won in 2016, and 2017.
Esperance de Tunis
Espérance Sportive de Tunis also known as Espérance ST, or Espérance de Tunis, is a sports club based in Tunis, Tunisia, they are nicknamed ‘El Taraji, and the club was founded in 1919.
Esperance also has several sports teams, including football, handball, and volleyball, and the club was founded in Bab Souika which is one of the historic gates of the capital of Tunisia.
So far, ES Tunis has won 29 Tunisian League, 15 Tunisian Cups, and 4 Tunisian Supercups and at the continental level, the club has 4 CAF Champions League titles which they won in 1994, and in the last 10 years, they’ve won it 2011, 2018, and 2019 against a Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca.
The season follows a transitional calendar which allows the CAF club competitions to switch from a February to November schedule to an August to May schedule, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017, and It began in December 2018, right after the 2018 season had finished, and ends in May 2019, before the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations which has been switched from January/February to June/July, the next season will then start after the Africa Cup of Nations and follow the new calendar.
Al Ahly Sporting Club, commonly known as Al Ahly, is an Egyptian football club based in Cairo. It is well known as “The Club of the Century” in African football.
It is best known for its professional football team that plays in the Egyptian Premier League, the top tier in the Egyptian football league system, and Al Ahly is the most respected and decorated football club in Africa due to their achievements over the years in Africa, and the club was founded on 24 April 1907, as a gathering place for Cairo’s Student Unions.
Al Ahly has a record of 41 National League titles, 36 National Cups titles, and 11 national Super Cup titles, which made them the most decorated club in Egypt, and they have never been relegated to the Egyptian second tier in their history.
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On continental levels, the club has won a record 8 CAF Champions League titles, a CAF Confederations Cup title, a record 6 CAF Super Cup titles, a record 4 African Cup Winners’ Cup titles, an Afro Asian Club Championship title, an Arab Club Champions Cup title, an Arab Cup Winners’ Cup title, a record 2 Arab Super Cup titles, and won a bronze medal in the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup, all of this achievements made Al Ahly the second most successful club in the world in terms of number of international titles won, and they remain 20 behind Real Madrid.
Al Ahly won the CAF Champions League in 2012, and 2013 respectively, but in 2014 they got knocked out early in the competition, and they made their way to the Confederations Cup which is the second tier of CAF Competitions, however, the Red Giant never relented and went on to win it, and that added to the club continental tournament titles which were the club’s first-ever title in the competition against Sewe FC, though they lost the first game 2-1, they did well in the return match to win the title in a historic fashion.
Aftermath of their triumphed at the CAF Confederations Cup, Al Ahly went through a critical phase after most of their stars of the old generation retired, causing the loss of a number of tournaments until the team regained its balance when they met with Zamalek to determine the Super Cup Champion in the game that was held in Dubai for the first time at the end of 2015, as Abdul Aziz and Abdul Shafi led the Red Giant to a 3-2 win over Zamalek to give them their ninth Egyptian Super cup in the club’s history.
Wydad Athletic Club, commonly known as WAC, also called Wydad of Nation is a Moroccan sports club based in Casablanca, WAC has won the most titles 44 in the land.
In 2000 Wydad was awarded the title of “Moroccan club of the 20th century” by FIFA as the most titled won by a Moroccan team. Meanwhile, the first decade of the new millennium saw the red devils win the Cup of the Cups of Africa in 2002, a Cup of Morocco in 2000-2001, and a championship in 2005-2006.
Wydad Casablanca were crowned champions of Africa after defeating Egyptian giants Al Ahly 2-1 on aggregate in the 2017 CAF Champions League final.
Wydad Athletic Club since their existence, the club has appeared in the CAF Champions League 11 times, but starting from the decade in review Wydad has really done well for themselves in terms of the results on the continent, which goes thus in 2011 they finished the tournament as a runner up, 2017 they won it, in 2018 they got knocked out in the quarter-finals, and in 2019 they finished as runners-up.
However, their CAF Confederations Cup quest isn’t something to envy, with 4 appearances so far they haven’t really done well in the CAF second-tier competition anytime they found themselves in the tournament.
Entente Sportive Sétifienne, known as Entente de Sétif or ES Sétif, is an Algerian professional football club based in Setif. The club was founded in 1958 and its home stadium, the Stade 8 Mai 1945, has a capacity of 18,000 spectators.
ES Setif is one of the most successful clubs in Algeria and has won the Algerian Ligue eight times and the Algerian Cup a record eight times. They are also one of only three Algerian clubs to have won the CAF Champions League, winning it twice in 1988 and 2014, and in 2015, they became the first Algerian club to win the CAF Super Cup.
ES Sétif were CAF Champions League champion, after beating DR Congo’s AS Vita Club in 2014 final, the reigning CAF Super Cup, after beating Egypt’s Al Ahly in the 2015 Super Cup and the reigning Algerian Ligue champions.
ES Sétif is also one of the prestigious top flight Algerian clubs, the club has won the Algerian Cup 8 times, and is the only Algerian team to have won the Afro Asia cup, in 1989 in Qatar.
Mamelodi Sundowns is a professional South African football based in Mamelodi, and since the inception of the PSL in 1996 Sundowns have won the league title a record 9 times and they were the 2016 CAF Champions League winner and 2016 CAF Club Of The Year.
They’ve also won the Nedbank Cup four times, and hold the joint record of three National Football League Championships, and they are the 1st South African team to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup where they finished in 6th place.
The club is owned by a billionaire mining businessman Patrice Motsepe, and they are nicknamed ‘The Brazilians’ in reference to their soccer kits (blue and yellow) which resembles that of the Brazilian national team.
In 2001, the club reached the final of the CAF Champions League and they were defeated 4-1 on aggregate by Egyptian club Al Ahly, under the tutelage of Tsichlas the team became the best in South Africa and won more trophies than any other team in the country.
After a slow start to the 2006-07 season, Gamondi and Tovey were relieved of their positions, and Gordon Igesund took over as head coach. Under Igesund, Sundowns defended their title in emphatic style, running away with the trophy. They failed to win the ‘double’, losing to Ajax Cape Town in the 2007 ABSA Cup final.
In 2010-11 which is the decade in review, Antonio Lopez Habas, who was the assistant coach under Stoichkov, took over the reins of the senior team and made Sundowns go on their best-ever start to a League season and topped the league standings at the end of the first round.
The second round of the League proved more competitive and Sundowns were in the hunt for the league title until the last match.
In 2012, Pitso Mosimane took over as head coach and under his leadership, Mamelodi Sundowns won the league in 2013-14 and 2015-16 season, as Mosimane continues the great rising of Sundowns to win the CAF Champions League, which was the goal of owner Patrice Motsepe when he bought the club in 2004.
In 2017 Sundowns became the first team in South Africa to win the CAF Super Cup by defeating TP Mazembe from DR Congo.
In their journey for gold, Sundowns open their campaign with an annulled 2-0 win against an Algerian side ES Setif courtesy of Mabunda and Billiat goals. However, despite their disappointment of losing 3 points, that didn’t hurt their performance in the tournament as they went past the likes of Nigerian side Enyimba, and Zamalek causing the greatest upset the Egyptians could ever think of, as they went to defeat the Egyptian giants Zamalek.
In the Semifinal, Sundowns faced a Zambian side ZESCO United, that is brimming with confidence in their home stadium, which they lost to quick succession goals just a minute apart in the 54th and 56th minutes from Mwanza, but Billiat restored parity for the South African as he netted a goal with just 4 minutes plus additional time left in the 86th minute to bring the score to 2-l, leaving them not much to do in the return leg.
In the return leg, Sundowns did what they needed to do, by winning the match 2-0, as Mamelodi Sundowns reached the final of the competition for the first time since 2001 CAF Champions League final where they lost to Al Ahly.
They continued their quest in the competition all the way to the final, and they came out triumphant against the Egyptian side Zamalek, winning 3-1 on aggregate, which coincided with them claiming their first-ever continental title and becoming only the second South African team to be crowned champions of Africa.
Zamalek Sporting Club is an Egyptian sports club based in Giza Egypt. The club was founded in January 1911.
Zamalek is one of two clubs that have played in every season of the Egyptian Premier League, and one of seven clubs that have never been relegated to the Egyptian second-tier division. However on the continent, Zamalek has won 5 CAF Champions League titles, 1 CAF Confederations Cup title, 3 CAF Super Cup titles and 1 African Cup Winners Cup title, making them one of the most successful clubs in Africa.
In 2014, under the tutelage of Mortada Mansour, who took over the club and Zamalek rebounded again. His contributions with the team, led to Zamalek winning the League and the Cup in his first year, and Super Cup in the following year.
Then in his fourth year, Zamalek won the Egyptian Cup, in 2015 Zamalek got to the Confederation Cup semi-finals, and in 2016, Zamalek reached the final of African Champions League, and in 2019 Zamalek won the CAF Confederation Cup.
Raja Club Athletic is a sports club with many different disciplines based in Casablanca, Morocco. The club was founded in 1949, Raja CA is a club known for the success of its football section, and the club plays at Stade Mohammed V since its inauguration in 1956.
However, Raja CA holds the distinction of being the only Arab club to reach the final of the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup.
Raja is also one of the most prestigious clubs on the continent, and in 1999, in a ranking established by the FIFA Raja was ranked 10th club in the world following its performances at the 2000 Mondialito.
According to the CAF ranking of the best African clubs of the 20th century, Raja was ranked third in Africa after Zamalek and Al Ahly, which coincided with when Raja was created, which was in the middle of this century, also Raja has won 16 trophies since 2000, and they are one of the most successful Moroccan clubs of the 21st century.
They are also, the fifth most successful club in Africa with 8 titles in official continental competitions. In 2000, Raja Casablanca became the first African team to participate in the Club World Cup, as they competed in the first edition that took place in Brazil. The competition allowed them to confront some of the great football teams from around the world, such as Real Madrid and Corinthians from Brazil.
Raja Casablanca became the second club to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final as the host nation in 2013, and they went to beat Auckland City, Monterrey and Atletico Mineiro at the semi-final of the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup.
As this decade winds up noticeably, we hope to witness another scintillating football scene from these aforementioned clubs as we enter into another decade in 2020.
However, it’s left to be seen how things will unfold, probably we might see another set of clubs who might also wow us with their performance and achievements in the forthcoming decade.
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.
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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.
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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.