Ahead of the 2020/2021 CAF Champions League Group Stage Draw, we have decided to rank the 16 teams that have reached this stage of the competition by their chances of winning the entire thing on…wait, we are not sure that CAF will not reschedule the date of the CAFCL Final. Haha.
Let us know if you agree with our ranking and what teams you would like drawn in the same group. We just want to see Al Ahly versus Kaizer Chiefs in order to settle the issue of “the biggest club in Africa” on the pitch.
16. Teungueth FC
The Senegalese side knocked out Raja Casablanca. This does not suddenly make them a CAF Champions League hot shot. It takes years to get our respect with regards to CAFCL. Teungueth FC remain an unknown quantity and it is the team everyone will want in pot four of the Group Stage Draw.
15. Petro Luanda
Petro Luanda found the CAFCL to be a difficult hunting ground last season after they were drawn in what was the Group of Death. But you have to beat those kinds of opposition to win the CAF Champions League. Anyway, their target this season will be going one stage further and they will need to record home wins to attain the goal.
14. Horoya AC
Discount TP Mazembe? Haha, sorry. Horoya faded away into the CAF Confederation Cup despite all the good will CAFCL fans poured onto them a couple of years back. Things have changed since they were last in the Group Stage and they will be hoping for a favourable draw to reach the quarterfinals.
13. Al Merrikh
This Sudanese side needs to learn from Zamalek (and Argentina) that you cannot leave on reputation alone. There was a hint that they are learning this lesson with the way they dispatched Enyimba FC. Al Merrikh can be a dark horse for the title if they choose to be.
12. Simba SC
The best team in East Africa finally walked the talk by overcoming two tricky opponents in the Preliminary and First Round. They can count on good squad depth and great home form (but Yanga fans are always there to counter) to carry them in the CAF Champions League Group Stage.
11. Kaizer Chiefs
This is new territory for Kaizer Chiefs. We know the team has profile, quality and experience. But how battle-hardened are they? Expect them to whine alot about the cynical style of North African teams or their changing rooms being locked in some random sub-Saharan Africa country.
10. Vita Club
Vita Club had one good year in 2014 otherwise they are always there only to make up the numbers. They do not even play spoiler, which is a shame for a club with the quality to be a dark horse. Vita, you cannot always hope for the big boys to be out of form to do something in CAFCL.
9. MC Alger
Even above average North African teams will always rank high because they are incredibly strong at home. MC Alger is not that far ahead of the likes of Vita Club even if they knocked out CS Sfaxien but can count on 7 to 9 points at home in the group stage, and that is a great place to start from.
8. Al Hilal
Al Hilal are the eternal dark horse. Give them an easy group and they will advance. Give them some of the top dogs of CAFCL and they will push them all the way.
7. CR Belouizdad
Am I easily impressed? Surely, I cannot be rating CR Belouizdad this highly just because they thrashed a disorganized Gor Mahia. CR Belouizdad were on course to be Algerian champions last season and have maintained the great form whilst adding quality players to their rank. They will be the Algerian team this season.
6. Esperance Tunis
Esperance struggled more than I would like to see to knock out Ahly Benghazi. They have depth but there is a feeling the team has not improved in terms of quality from last season. Abderrahmane Meziane, a $1.5 million signing, has been a big disappointment. They are still Ghoul of Africa though.
Zamalek missed out on the first round fan so we do not have an updated measure of what they will be bringing to the table this season. The White Knights squad is still one to envy though and the quest to go one step further means the team is still hungry. Let us hope they do not lose Sassi in January.
4. TP Mazembe
Selling Muleka, bringing back coach Mihayo, making zero headline-grabbing signing – TP Mazembe should be struggling in CAFCL this season. But they know how to get the job done in Africa. I would not bet against them until the quarterfinal stage. Hehe.
Who needs Pitso Mosimane when you can buy every decent talent in the PSL? Sundowns have not lost momentum from losing their beloved coach and have spruced up their squad with more quality – like Shalulile, the striker. They are now used to handling CAFCL demands and look like one of the teams to beat for me.
2. Wydad Casablanca
Wydad Casablanca started the CAFCL slow last season and still reached the semifinal. The are the hardest team to beat in Africa, I think only Al Ahly and Esperance Tunis can beat Wydad outrightly. The fact that El Kaabi is back and that they have Ellafi (from USM Alger) and Msuva added onto their ranks makes them a title contender.
1. Al Ahly
Al Ahly is always the favourite to win the CAF Champions League. There really is nothing more to say about that.