This is CAFCL Gazette Fan Zone. This is your space. You can talk about your favourite team. You can rant about the team that you hate. You can talk anything you like about the CAF Champions League. This week, Malek Shafei of African Football HQ had something to say.

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Predict for us outcomes of the CAFCL quarterfinal matches

Zamalek – Esperance: Zamalek have been in incredible form recently and I believe they will win the first leg at home. Esperance are still a great squad and will win the second leg. Zamalek has done the job on foreign grounds in the African and Egyptian Super Cups, so they will be able to perform in Tunisia. They will advance to the Semi-Finals, although I am a bit biased as an Egyptian.

Raja Casablanca – TP Mazembe: I think Mazembe will win this by a large margin. Raja are arguably the weakest team at this stage of the tournament. While their fans might be formidable, they will be no match for Jackson Muleka and Mazembe.

Al Ahly – Sundowns: This will be a great matchup. Sundowns dismantled Al Ahly in their last matchup. Ahly will be raring to take revenge on the South Africans. The quality of Ahly’s team will secure them a win in Egypt. However, they have struggled on foreign grounds this season. I believe Ahly will advance if they can hold Sundowns to one or two goals in Pretoria.

Wydad Casablanca – Etoile Sahel: Etoile and Wydad are arguably the worst teams at this stage. I do not think that Etoile have the quality to outscore Wydad over two legs; given the quality of the Moroccan side.

What is your opinion on the decision to play the CAFCL final over one match?

I think it’s great. One match makes it much more exciting as everything will be left on the field. I also believe that it will allow for more attention and coverage on African football. The Copa Libertadores final is played over two legs and gets little attention outside of South America.

The match being played on a neutral venue is also a great decision. Although, there is a high chance that the match will be hosted by a finalist as the best teams have the best stadiums.

How much of a threat is the Arab Club Cup to the CAFCL?

It isn’t at the moment. I try to keep up with everything African football but ACC matches always seem to fall under the radar. The coverage is extremely limited and fans seem to not be interested.

There are two intriguing points that put the ACC above the CAFCL and CAFCC though. Prize money in the ACC is extremely high, which will potentially force North African clubs to prioritize it over the CAF competitions. Additionally, the intercontinental matchups between Asian and Africans clubs is something CAF cannot match. The best Saudi team versus the best Egyptian team for example would be a mouth-watering matchup.

What alternative would you propose in place of Infantino’s Super League to improve the revenue generation potential of CAF interclub football?

I definitely believe that there shouldn’t be a Super League implemented in Africa, or Europe for that matter. Coverage of the CAF interclub competitions need to be expanded in Africa and across the world.

In my opinion, Bein Sports does a terrible job with their coverage of the competitions. From hiring European commentators who know nearly nothing about African football to failing to broadcast huge games, Bein’s coverage of Africa’s best club competition leaves a lot to be desired.

Many fans in Sub-Saharan Africa believe that CAF favours North Africa. Do you agree with them and how can this perception be addressed?

With the exception of TP Mazembe and the South African clubs, the richest clubs are North African. Because of this, CAF will be more favorable to these clubs and the North African regions. Infantino’s plan to build a big stadium in African countries without one seems intriguing but CAF and FIFA’s implementation of these projects is usually lackluster.

Everything starts with the local leagues. Investment in the Sub-Saharan leagues needs to be upped massively. FIFA and CAF need to work with the governments to make sure that the money being spent is spent smartly and not going to the pockets of politicians or CAF members.

You should check out Malek Shafei’s work at African Football HQ

Twitter 👉 @AfricanFtblHQ

Website 👉 African Football HQ