The 2010s came and have gone by fast. The big story of the decade has been expansion of the CAF Champions League group stage to 16 teams. We have enjoyed the resurgence of clubs from South Africa, Morocco and Algeria. All 3 had a CAFCL winning team.
In total, 6 clubs from 6 different countries won the 10 Champions League titles on offer. Esperance Tunis won three of them to finish as the most successful club of the 2010s.
Anyway, the decade started with Al Ahly as the most successful club and has ended with Al Ahly still the best of the bunch. Will this change in the 2020s?
As you ponder that, go through our ranking of all CAF Champions League winning teams of the 2010s.
10. ES Setif 2014
ES Setif ended a 26-year drought for the CAFCL title. The side was led by the youngest winning coach in the history of the competition – Kheireddine Madoui, 34 at the time. The Algerian club huffed and puffed their way to a second title though.
Looking back, it could have gone either way for them. They beat TP Mazembe in the semis on away goals and beat Vita Club in the same manner in the final.
9. TP Mazembe 2015
The all-powerful Mazembe equalled Zamalek’s haul of 5 trophies in 2015. It was the year Mbwana Samatta peaked as he finished tournament top scorer with 7 goals. It must be said that the field was pretty weak in this year. Tunisia had no club in the group stage and Egypt was represented by Smouha.
Okay, Algeria had 3 clubs but one of them now plays in the second division.
8. Al Ahly 2013
Ahly had to cool off after their highs of the 2000s. This means winning 2 Champions League titles, in a decade, for the Red Devils. Al Ahly outdid an impressive Orlando Pirates team both in the group stage and the final. They did this playing group matches in Gouna and the final at Osman Ahmed Osman stadium, during a difficult period for Egyptian football.
This season was Mohamed Aboutrika’s swansong. All good things must come to an end (actually, all things must but you get the point).
7. Esperance Tunis 2018
Too low? Look, it never looked like anything special was in the offing from Esperance. It was not until Chaabani was appointed coach did their fate miraculously overturn. Even then, Taraji was really lucky to knock out Primeiro Agosto at the semifinal stage. But we are all happy we got properly introduced to Anice Badri, Saad Bguir and the gang.
6. Al Ahly 2012
This was the year that the Port Said tragedy occurred. Al Ahly showed incredible will to top all clubs in Africa. They ruined Youssef Msakni’s farewell party at Esperance while at it – by winning the CAFCL at Rades. Geddo was part of that. Remember him?
5. Esperance Tunis 2018/2019 (2019)
There was an unneeded change in calendar. It still counts as 2019, right? Coach, Chaabani led Esperance to a successful title defence without defeat in his first full season. The side beat, surprise package, CS Constantine home and away in the quarter final. The side then knocked out TP Mazembe without conceding a goal. Their crowning was tainted by the tantrums from Wydad Casablanca. It was pretty embarrassing.
4. Mamelodi Sundowns 2016
2016 was a breath of fresh air. We had a Champions League winner that never resorted to the dark art of playing conservatively. Mamelodi Sundowns were always eager to go toe to toe. Ultimately, nobody could match them. Sundowns battered Zamalek in the first half on that October afternoon, in Pretoria. Percy Tau, Keagan Dolly and Khama Billiat are not even at the club anymore.
Who cares if they got in through the “back door?”
3. TP Mazembe 2010
This ranking does not consider FIFA Club World Cup performance.
With that out of the way, let us talk about TP Mazembe 2010. It was the first team of the decade to successfully defend the CAF Champions League title. The side was led by a certain Senegalese called Lamine N’Diaye and included, current coach, Pamphile Mihayo. Mazembe put 3 past a solid JS Kabylie in the semis.
The team then beat Esperance Tunis 5-0 in the first leg of the final. It remains the biggest winning margin in the final.
2. Wydad Casablanca 2017
Really? Yes. The side showed signs of being a historic team by topping Al Ahly during the group stage. Al Ahly is always the benchmark. The Casablanca team then knocked out, defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns. This was followed by tense semis success over USM Alger. Walid El Karti and Achraf Bencharki, then, proved decisive to earn the trophy over Al Ahly.
1. Esperance Tunis 2011
Esperance Tunis was driven to make amends after the fiasco that was the 2010 final. They showed it in scoring 10 goals in two home matches during the qualifier rounds against clubs from Benin and Senegal (do you really need me to name them?).
This club then came through undefeated in a group with Al Ahly, Wydad Casablanca and MC Alger (who were good back then). Harrison Afful scored one of those goals to end Esperance’s own CAF Champions League trophy drought against Wydad Casablanca. Africa is yet to top that Darragi-Msakni duo.
Do you agree with the ranking? Let us know in the comments below.