The first leg matches of the CAF Champions League First Round were played this week. Only two home wins were recorded, which should not be surprising because most of the “better sides” were set to play the second leg matches at home.
The results were what we expected and predicted. We are now only waiting on the ties involving Algerian sides. But as we wait, you can go through the lessons we picked from the CAFCL First Round first leg matches.
1. CAF is still Sabotaging CAFCL
African football is just not the same without an off-pitch crisis here or there. And we had two of those this week. In Chad, Gazelle failed to honour their fixture against Zamalek and the Egyptians were granted a walkover. Close by, in Kenya, Gor Mahia realized at the very last minute that Algerian airspace is closed.
It is all so tiring. Anyway, it was dissapointing to see CAF shy away from sharing information with CAFCL fans on developments of the two situations. This created room for everyone who can to preach their narrative. What is the point of all those social platforms, CAF?
2. Slow Start for the Big Boys
We know the teams that will be coming for Al Ahly’s CAF Champions League trophy. I was surprised by how lethargic they were in performance and results for these first round matches. Technically, these are the easiest matches they will play in the competition all season.
In years gone by, these are the matches that the likes of TP Mazembe and Esperance Tunis used to show Africa that they are a cut above from the rest. This time even Wydad Casablanca lost.
3. Two Teams from Sudan CAFCL
Sudan is the home of the two eternal dark horses of the CAF Champions League – Al Hilal and Al Merrikh. New CAFCL fans are usually surprised to learn that neither of these two teams have ever won the CAF Champions League nor have they played in the final in recent memory.
After the first round first leg matches, these two teams came out as having one foot in the group stage. Actually, Al Hilal and Al Merrikh will both qualify. Can the two Sudani Premier League teams do better than they did in 2015?
4. Anglophone Africa Disappoints Yet Again
Sigh! South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya (and Tanzania, for argument’s sake) act like they are the best Africans. I think it is because they predominantly speak English. We bought into their hype and have been begging CAF to expand the CAFCL Group Stage for them.
Guess what? They flopped in the CAF Champions League yet again (except Sundowns). Maybe they should stick to watching the Premier League 😀