The dawn of the African Football League: Everything you need to know

FOOTBALL The dawn of the African Football League: Everything you need to know

Clive Kyazze 15:46 - 16.10.2023

Africa is gearing up for the inauguration of a football revolution: The African Football League (AFL).

Africa is gearing up for the inauguration of a football revolution: The African Football League (AFL).

The curtains rise in Dar-es-Salaam on Friday, 20 October 2023, as Simba SC gears up to face the formidable Al Ahly SC at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, marking the first match of this much-anticipated competition.

A deeper dive into the AFL

The AFL isn't merely another football competition. It's a premium global event that assembles Africa's most eminent football clubs under one banner.

More than just a sport, it’s a vision to infuse African football with new avenues of financial investment.

The AFL is not looking to be a mere echo of any other league; it aims to carve a unique identity of its own.

Who's in the Game?

The AFL’s maiden edition boasts participation from eight of Africa's football giants. These teams hail from three pivotal African Regional Blocks: North, Central-West, and South-East.

The opening slate will see teams of great stature like Al Ahly (Egypt), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), Esperance (Tunisia), and Simba SC (Tanzania) among others, battling it out for the coveted title.

Selection Criteria

These clubs were cherry-picked from the top-tier leagues of the African continent, ensuring the competition remains fierce and unparalleled.

The journey to victory

The AFL adopts a knockout style, propelling teams through quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the ultimate final showdown. Each duel unfolds over two legs, offering both teams home ground advantage.

While the journey commences with the quarter-finals in Dar es Salaam on 20 October, the semi-finals are slotted between 29 October and 1 November.

The final face-off will span two matches on 5 and 11 November 2023, culminating in the crowning of the inaugural AFL champion.

The grand prize

It's not just pride and glory on the line. The victors of the AFL will be richer by a whopping $4 Million.

Following closely, the runner-up will pocket $2.8 Million, with the semi-finalists bagging $1.7 Million each. Even the quarter-finalists won't leave empty-handed, each securing $900,000.

How does AFL stand out?

Rooted deeply in Africa’s fervent passion for football, the AFL aspires to transcend the regular and elevate the stature of the continent's elite clubs.

Its vision is clear: to transform into Africa's foremost football event, redefining entertainment, broadcasting standards, and the overall fan experience.

AFL vs CAF Champions League

Worries that the AFL might overshadow the CAF Champions League can be put to rest. Both leagues will co-exist, each carving its niche and retaining distinct qualities. They aim to be two stalwarts of African football, casting a global spell.

Reshaping the African football calendar

With the birth of the AFL and its integration into the football calendar, extensive deliberations between the African Club Association and CAF are underway.

The idea is not competition but complementarity, with sustainability at its heart.

The broader picture

The AFL isn’t just an exclusive club; it's a beacon for African football. While it promises to enhance the prowess of the continent’s top clubs, the benefits cascade down.

The revenues generated will be funneled to all 54 CAF members and local leagues, amplifying football development pan-continent.

The AFL's vision is clear: retain Africa's best football talent, ensuring the legacy and resilience of African club football continues to thrive.

In essence, the African Football League isn’t just another competition; it's the future of African football.