The 2023-24 CAF Champions League season will mark exactly 60 years since the competition was incepted when Pyramids hosts TP Mazembe at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo on Friday afternoon in the opening game.
April 2024 will be 60 years since African Clubs started competing for glory at the elite level
The maiden edition of the African Cup of Champions clubs was called Kwame Nkrumah’s Cup and was played in 1964-65. 14 teams competed as they were split into 3 groups; North-Eastern Zone, Western Zone and Central-South-Western Zone. Each winner of the three groups qualified for the final tournament held in Ghana with Oryx Douala beating Stade Malien 2-1 to lift the coveted trophy.
Since then, it has been competed on 58 occasions with Asante Kotoko and Hafia of Guinea dominating the competition in the 1970s and 80s editions.
The competition was rebranded in 1997 as the name was changed from African Cup of Champions Clubs to the CAF Champions League whereby teams would be competing in the group stages. The competition since its rebranding has been dominated by the North Africans, especially Al Ahly.
Most Successful teams
Egypt’s Al Ahly have won the competition on 11 occasions with the closest teams Zamalek and TP Mazembe each on 5 occasions. Tunisian giants Esperance have won the competition four times with Wydad Athletic, Hafia FC, Raja Casablanca and Canon Yaounde all having won three.
Al Ahly has won a total of 169 matches followed by Esperance with 144, Asec with 110, Zamalek with 105, TP Mazembe with 99, Al Hilal with 81, Sundowns with 76, Wydad with 71, Raja with 70 and Asante Kotoko with 68. Wins in qualifiers are included.
Performance by Nations
Egypt is the country that has won the competition many as they have emerged as winners on 17 occasions followed by Morocco on 7, Tunisia on 6, Dr Congo on 6, Algeria on 5, Cameroon on 5, Ghana on 3, Guinea on 3, Nigeria 2, South Africa 2, Ivory Coast 2 and Congo 1.
North Africa has won 35 out of the 59 editions with the Central Africa Region winning it on 12 occasions. West Africa has won the trophy 10 times with the southern part of the African continent winning it on 2 occasions. No team from East Africa has ever won the CAF Champions League.
Emmanuel Osei Kuffuor of Accra Hearts of Oak was the first player to win the top-scorer charts with double figures(10 in 2000) since the competition was rebranded in 1997. Mamadou Diallo (10 in 2004), Stephen Worgu (13 in 2008), Edward Sadomba (14 in 2011),
and Emmanuel Clottey (12 in 2012) have hit double figures since Osei Kuffuor set that record
Dr Congo international Tresor Mputu is the all-time top-scorer having scored 39 goals in 73 appearances for TP Mazembe and Kabuscorp. Legendary Mohammed Aboutrika has found the back of the net 31 times followed by Mohammed El Khatib 28, Flavio Amado 27 and Emad Moteab 24.
Most successful coaches
Cameronian coach Samuel Missipo was the first coach to ever lift the CAF Champions League when Oryx Douala won the maiden edition. Portuguese coach Manuel Jose has won four trophies with Al Ahly (2001,2005,2006,2008) which is the most. South African master tactician Pitso Mosimane follows as he has won the coveted trophy on three occasions (2016,2020,2021). He won it in 2016 for Mamelodi Sundowns and in 2020 and 2021 for Al Ahly.
Moine Chaabani, Celestin Tambwe Laye, Oscar Fullone, Mahmoud El-Gohary, Boubacar Fofana and Stephan Zywotko have all won it two different times.
Al Ahly remains the undisputed king as they dominate every aspect of the CAF Champions League.
The 60th edition of the CAF Champions League promises to be an exciting one as African Club football has improved compared to the 80s and the 90s.