The CAF Champions League is dominated by elite teams as any club football continental competition should be. Nevertheless, every now and again we get to witness new teams put in historic CAFCL performances. Some of these teams continue to be CAFCL regulars but others never really return.
We call the teams that never return, CAFCL one season wonder teams. And now we have prepared for you a list of the best CAF Champions League surprise clubs 😉
🇬🇭 Obuasi Goldfields – 1997
Obuasi Goldfields is nowadays called Ashanti Gold SC. They are a small club in Ghana but back in the 1990s they were the side to envy. Goldfields reached the CAF Champions League final in 1997 but lost to Raja Casablanca on penalties. Remember this was they year that the group stage was introduced. The Ghanaian club was led by the late Herbert Addo, a masterful coach. They topped a group with Zamalek and Club Africain but have never reached similar heights since.
The club was so impressive that Ajax Amsterdam bought majority stake in the club. They owned 51% of Obuasi Goldfields but later sold these back for reasons unknown (we guess they were unable to bring through as much talent as anticipated).
🇳🇬 Kano Pillars – 2009
This team was called “Ahly Killers” in Nigeria. The reason for this name is because they had knocked out Al Ahly – preventing the CAF Champions League defending champions from reaching the group stage. Kano Pillars did so on away goals rule, which included a famous 2-2 draw in Cairo.
2009 is remembered as the year that North Africa’s modern dominance of CAFCL was put on hold. Kano Pillars was one of the non-North African teams that reached the semifinals. They could not go on to win the title as they were knocked out, embarrassingly, by Heartlands (also from Nigeria).
🇬🇭 Berekum Chelsea – 2012
Yes, another Ghanaian team. Berekum Chelsea only reached as far as the CAFCL group stage. This did not stop them from being the most talked about team in the competition in 2012. For one, they are called Chelsea. They also had exciting players like Emmanuel Clottey (he scored 12 goals in the CAFCL) and Solomon Asante (TP Mazembe fans know him).
The reason they dominated news the most was because of the explosive manner in which they kicked off their CAFCL group stage campaign. Mind you, they had been drawn with Al Ahly, Zamalek and TP Mazembe. They managed to beat Zamalek and draw with TP Mazembe in their first 2 matches before Ahly brought them back to earth.
🇺🇬KCCA FC – 2018
KCCA reached the CAF Champions League group stage for the first time in 2018. They remain a demonstration of the potential to be unlocked by expanding the CAFCL group stage. KCCA was a club of modest resources that put, neighbors, Kenya and Tanzania to shame. They had managed to be competitive in Africa by proper club administration. And not by wasting money on so-so transfers as top Tanzanian clubs do or by being clueless about running a modern team as we see in Kenya.
KCCA famously beat Al Ahly in Kampala and came close to stealing a result, in Rades, against Esperance Tunis. We are still waiting for them to reach the CAFCL group stage again.
Do you know any other one season wonder clubs in the CAFCL? Let us know in the comments section below.