Only 4 football teams are left to compete for the 2019/2020 CAF Champions League title after a weekend which saw none of the quartefinal first leg losing teams demonstrate enough to overturn results and qualify for the semifinals.
What lessons are there for you to pick as we await the CAFCL semis contest between Cairo and Casablanca? Read on to find out.
1. The group stage does not matter
We rated Zamalek and Wydad Casablanca among the weaker teams in the CAFCL quartefinals going by their group stage performance. You can read more about that here. Conversely, everyone had TP Mazembe and Mamelodi Sundowns as CAF Champions League favorites just because they finished undefeated in the group stage. Guess which 2 reached the semis?
The CAF Champions League is won by the most cynical team. This is why Al Ahly went on to put on a shameful performance in Pretoria. Playing for results is the main thing at the business end of this competition. Lesson learnt.
2. The best leagues in Africa
As anticipated, only clubs from Egypt and Morocco reached the CAF Champions League semifinals. Al Ahly will play Wydad Casablanca while Zamalek faces Raja Casablanca for a place in the final. Morocco and Egypt also have representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup, which confirms their status as having the most elite football clubs in Africa.
The Tunisian league has lost its competitive edge while the PSL, of South Africa, seems unable to translate their successes into CAF interclubs competitions achievements.
3. Move on
Etoile Sahel placed their CAFCL semifinal hopes on the return of, 33-year old, Yassine Chikhaoui. TP Mazembe placed their hopes on, 34-year old, Tresor Mputu. These two players have won the CAF Champions League in the past. But it is a shame to see them still playing prominent roles for clubs they shined for almost a decade ago. Sundowns are in the same calibre with Hlompho Kekana – who was handed a new contract.
It is a demonstration that the respective club leaderships have not widened up to pick better talents in the transfer market or nurture new ones. Al Ahly was having the same problem last season but made major moves in the market.
4. We will have a new champion
Phew, Esperance Tunis is out of the CAF Champions League. The 2-time defending champions just could not find a second goal to knockout Zamalek. Interestingly, 3 of the teams in the last 4 were in the CAFCL semifinal in 2005. Al Ahly emerged winner that year. Will the same thing happen in 2020?