Free football predictions and tips for CAF Champions League
CAF Champions League in a nutshell
The CAF Champions League is a continental association football tournament held every year by the CAF. This tournament is open to the best club teams from across Africa's football leagues. The official name of the tournament is Total CAF Champions League, but Total Champions League is also used. The tournament winner wins a place in the FIFA Club World Cup, which is contested by champion clubs from all six continental confederations, and also meets the winner of the CAF Confederation Cup in the CAF Super Cup the next season. With Al Ahly being the most successful club in the CAF Champions League history, winning the tournaments nine times.
The first team to win the 'African Cup of Champions Clubs' in 1964 was Cameroonian side Oryx Douala, who defeated Mali's Stade Malien 2–1 in a one-off final. The next year, there was no tournament, but in 1966, the two-legged ‘home and away' final was added, pitting another Malian side, AS Real Bamako, against the Côte d'Ivoire's Stade d'Abidjan. Bamako won 3–1 at home, but it all fell apart in the away leg in Abidjan, when the Ivorians won 4–1 and took the title 5–4 on aggregate.
The away goals rule was introduced in 1997, CAF took the ambitious step of introducing a league stage in the competition and changing the name to the CAF Champions League this year, following the lead set by UEFA a few years ago. For the first time, the CAF added prize money to the competition. With a prize pool of $1 million for the winner and $750,000 for the loser, the new Champions League became Africa's richest club tournament.
The league champions of the respective CAF member countries went through a series of preliminary rounds before reaching the last 16 stages of the new format. The eight champions of this round were divided into two mini-leagues, each with four teams, who played each other at home and away. The top two teams from each division compete in the semifinals at the conclusion of the league stage, with the winners advancing to the finals. In 2017, the group stage was extended from eight to sixteen teams, the mini-leagues from two to four, and an additional knock-out round was added.
North African clubs have dominated the competition since its inception, with nearly 80% of the Champions League titles in Africa going to this region. Nonetheless, in 2010, the Democratic Republic of the Congo's TP Mazembe became the first club to win the title twice. Their first two victories were in 1967 and 1968, and they repeated the feat in 2009 and 2010.
Structure and qualification:
Winners in all CAF-affiliated national leagues, as well as the previous season's competition champion, are qualified to compete. The runner-up of the league of the 12 highest-ranked countries was added to the tournament in 2004, making it a 64-team field. The CAF Cup, the secondary pan-African club competition in which the league runners-up formerly competed, was merged with the CAF Cup Winners' Cup to form the CAF Confederation Cup. The 12 countries will be ranked based on their clubs' results over the previous five years.
The Champions League is a knockout tournament with a final group stage, with each tie (including the final) being contested over two legs (home and away). The qualifying round and the first round are the two knockout rounds (32 teams). The 16 teams eliminated in the first round advance to the Confederation Cup, where they will compete against the competition's final 16 teams. Following the first round, the remaining 16 teams are divided into four groups of four. The winners and runners-up of these groups advance to a quarter-final, with the prospect of playing semi-finals for a chance to compete in the final.
The champions get 2.5 million US Dollars for winning the CAF Champions League while the Runners-up earns 1.25 million US Dollars for their trouble. The Semi-finalists, Quarter-finalists, 3rd in the group stage, and 4th in the group stage earn 875k US Dollars, 650k US Dollars, 550k US Dollars respectively.
Performance by clubs:
CAF Champions League: the prestigious continental confederation football competition in Africa
If you are living in Africa or just simply have interests in African football, CAF Champions League is a must-watch competition. The current 2020-2021 season has just finished the group stage and is about to hold the quarter-finals and further.
Learn about the CAF Champions League
In the first section, let’s grasp some basic knowledge about the CAF Champions League so that everything will become easier for you the next time watching this football competition.
What is it?
The CAF Champions League is an African football league for top club sides in this region. It is organized by the Confederation of African Football (abbreviated as CAF). This annual competition is also referred to as Total CAF Champions League or Total Champions League due to sponsorship reasons.
CAF Champions League trophy
- The founding phase
The CAF Champions League was founded in 1964, as the African Cup of Champions Clubs, which featured the Cameroonian football club side Oryx Douala. The next season in 1965 was not held, and since 1966, the CAF Champions League has been endured every year.
- The evolution since 1997
The 1997 edition witnessed the change in the name and format of this African football league. A league stage was created and the prize money was published for the first time, making it well-known as the richest competition in this region.
How does it work?
Along with two main phases in the historical structure of the CAF Champions League, the new format was also created in the development of the competition since 1997 and is also applied in the current format.
68 total participants have to go through a series of preliminary rounds until finding 32 teams for the first round, then 16 rounds starting from the group stage. 16 teams will be divided into four groups of four. The winner and runner-up from each group will advance to the quarter-finals. Since the group stage, each match is played over two-legged ties (home and away).
The eventual champion of the CAF Champions League will have a slot in the FIFA Club World Cup. Additionally, they will also meet the triumph of the CAF Confederation Cup in the CAF Super Cup of the following season.
As mentioned earlier, in the 1997 season, the CAF has introduced the prize money for CAF Champions League members for the first time since its inception. The prize money has increased over time throughout the history of the league. The following table will show details:
Accordingly, the last stage in the table (or the current phase) witnessed a significant increase in the prize money for the top 16 clubs. With the sponsorship of Total since 2016, even the 4th and 3rd teams in the group stage could receive $55 million USD, and the highest prize for the champion is US$250.5 million.
Titles by clubs in the history of the CAF Champions League
Who is the most successful club in the CAF Champions League?
Al Ahly is considered the most successful club in the history of the CAF Champions League. They won the titles nine times, in 1982, 1987, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2013, and 2020. Al Ahly also finished the competition in second place, in 1983, 2007, 2017, and 2018, in which they lost Asante Kotoko, Étoile du Sahel, Wydad AC, and ES Tunis respectively.
Al Ahly won the 9th title of the CAF Champions League