Club football in Africa is great because we have so many big teams unlike in Europe where the tournaments are a chore. If you consider the fact that the CAF Champions League group stage is only limited to 16 teams, used to be 8, you can see why the CAF Confederation Cup can be equally marquee. This has happened so many times but nobody makes noise about it because the the CAFCL was also good.
JOIN US TODAY ON TELEGRAM: t.me/cafclgazette
But there have been a few instances when the CAFCC was more exciting to watch than the CAFCL. Read our list and find out when this happened.
CAF Confederation Cup 2008
In 2008, Manual Jose’s Al Ahly strolled to a 3rd CAF Champions League trophy in 4 years. It was a remarkable achievement but, to be honest, the campaign was nothing remarkable. Enyimba fans will fondly remember their team’s goal-scoring exploits in CAFCL 2008 but more exciting things were happening in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Egyptian side, Haras El Hodood was still very good and they kept the pace with CS Sfaxien in Group A. Group B went down to the wire with Etoile Sahel pipping Al Merrikh, JS Kabylie and Asante Kotoko in a group where everyone was losing away from home. In the end, we had the second CAF interclub competition final between 2 teams from the same country. And CS Sfaxien won that Tunisian Classico final on away goals rule, surprising Etoile Sahel in Sousse.
CAF Confederation Cup 2013
Yeah, Roger de Sa’s Orlando Pirates was really good. Their midfield was dominant and they made South Africa interested in continental club football yet again. But I cannot help and recall that it was a pretty “dry” CAFCL edition. Things were really bad in Egypt so much that Al Ahly and Zamalek were forced to play their home matches in El Gouna at a 10,000 seater stadium. And Esperance Tunis got the easiest group stage draw ever.
Meanwhile, the CAFCC was a real battle. The 3 other Tunisian teams playing African football that year were in this competition. One of these was the once-in-a-lifetime CA Bizertin team that gave TP Mazembe a scare and threatened to win the entire thing. Mazembe even made an audacious attempt to sign, Bizertin goalkeeper, Farouk Ben Mustapha. CAFCC 2013 was righfully won by CS Sfaxien – the strongest CAFCC winner ever. Look at their squad: Ferjani Sassi, Didier Ndong, Yassine Khenissi, Ali Maaloul, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, etc.
CAF Confederation Cup 2015
We have said that CAFCL 2015 was the least exciting in the last 10 years. TP Mazembe won it well but the field was pretty weak. There were only 2 former CAFCL champions in the group stage. And we had to watch teams like Moghreb Tetouan, Smouha and MC El Eulma (now a 2nd division team) try to win the most important trophy in Africa. I say this with the greatest respect and because, in the same year, the CAF Confederation Cup was an entirely different affair.
All the cool kids decided to play the CAFCC football in 2015. Haters will say it’s because they were not good enough for Champions League football. But it was the realest thing. Group A had Al Ahly, Etoile Sahel and Esperance Tunis. How often do you see that everyday? Group B then lined up Zamalek, Orlando Pirates and CS Sfaxien. And goals flowed freely in this edition of the competition. Pirates did their best to make up for failing to win CAFCL in 2013 but Etoile Sahel had a very strong team and were not going to be denied.