Al Ahly has for a long time been the richest and most successful football club in Africa. Over the last few years, the club has opted to extend its might on the transfer market. They do not only buy all the best players in the Egyptian Premier League but they are also now quite comfortable raiding other big African clubs for players. We have seen them do this in Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa.
Does this mean they will become unstoppable and win the CAFCL forever? No. In fact, on closer scrutiny there is little to fear from Al Ahly’s big spending. Check out 5 reasons why your teams should not worry too much about Ahly:
1. Foreign player limit in Egypt
Al Ahly cannot buy all the best players they want. The Egyptian Premier League limits the number of foreign players a club can register to just 4. Yes, there is an additional spot for a North African player but this is nothing compared to the opportunity in Tunisia. Over there, North Africans are considered locals. Esperance Tunis has taken advantage of the rule to sign 7 Algerian players. Al Ahly will always have to sell foreign players to buy better foreign players.
2. Almost zero challenge in Egypt
Do you know how many times Al Ahly has won the Egyptian Premier League? They have won 40 league titles. They still continue to stroll to the title today even with equally wealthy competitors in Zamalek and Pyramids FC around. The Red Devils do not have an environment to push them to be innovative. This has seen them fail to go all the way in recent years – without their golden generation squad. Teams like Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca are better placed to shine in the CAFCL.
3. Best players prefer Europe
It is said that if an African footballer is good then he will be playing in Europe. Do you agree with this?
Anyway, Al Ahly will have to overpay to attract the very best players still around in Africa. This is because these types of players prefer heading to Europe rather than to ping pong among the top CAFCL clubs. I am sure you have noticed this in the Muleka and Kechrida transfer sagas. In any case, a player who wants money is better placed going to play in the Gulf (like Tunisian footballers 😁).
4. Scouting still works very well
Good players are being produced everyday in Africa. It just does not make sense to pay $2 million for a footballer to play in the African leagues. The smarter clubs like Esperance Tunis, Wydad Casablanca and TP Mazembe are getting value for money in prioritizing strong scouting networks and partnerships with West African clubs. They are able to be as good as Ahly while spending less on the market – unless they really need to.