January was a busy month for football clubs in Africa. The CAF Champions League Group Stage lineup for this season was determined. Football leagues in Africa got into their stride and those that had not resumed playing because of Covid-19 managed to get things back underway – save for countries like Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast.
What changed for the CAFCL Gazette Power Rankings between December 2020 and January 2021? Sanga Balende hit a rich vein of form in the DRC. The likes of Orlando Pirates and Olympique Medea did not do too shabby either in lifting their status as some of the most in-form teams in Africa. ES Setif and MC Alger dissapointed massively by falling out of the top 10 and even out of the top 20. Their poor league form in recent matches is to blame.
I know a few fans will be angry to see their teams placed lower than they expect by the CAFCL Gazette Power Rankings for January 2021. But I assure you it is an honest ranking drawn from league and continental form. Don’t ask me questions like why Sanga Balende is higher than Wydad if you have not read the criteria for the CAFCL Gazette Power Rankings. I even Tweeted about it, haha:
Now, let us get into the top 20 teams in Africa for the month of January 2020.
20. Olympique Medea 45 points
19. Fello Stars
18. US Monastir 46
17. JS Kabylie 47
16. Orlando Pirates 47
15. RS Berkane 47
14. CS Sfaxien 48
13. Etoile Sahel 50
12. Al Hilal 51
11. Simba SC 52
10. Sundowns 54
Sundowns cruised through the CAFCL First Round, with home and away wins, but their league form has been inconsistent. The teams has gotten too many draws in their last few matches even though they have managed to retain top spot in PSL through it all.
9. Wydad Casablanca 60
The Botola took a break in order for the Moroccan National Team to take part in the CHAN Competition. Wydad had done much of what is expected of them – challenging for the title in Morocco and reaching the CAFCL Group Stage.
8. CR Belouizdad 61
Did you miss Belouizdad’s emphatic CAF Champions League win over Gor Mahia? The Algerian side has also maintained their great league form in what is turning out to be a promising season.
7. Al Ahly 65
Al Ahly’s focus has shifted to the FIFA Club World Cup. This cannot make us forget that the club’s league form has been bested by Zamalek. It is not normal to see Ahly drop points within a few matches of each other but that is what happened in January. Is Pitso’s job safe? Haha.
6. Sanga Balende 66
Sanga Balende are upsetting the order in DR Congo. Their good form has seen them usurp TP Mazembe and Vita Club for the top spot. It is amazing to find them this high on the list because they are not playing CAFCL or CAFCC football. Will they maintain their form?
5. Esperance Tunis 68
Taraji has retained its 5th position in the CAFCL Gazette Power Rankings despite losing to CS Sfaxien and suffering a CAFCL scare against Ahly Benghazi. Things are looking up though for this grand club of Africa. They have signed two strikers and brought back Anice Badri.
4. TP Mazembe 71
We accepted that TP Mazembe will always be a feature on this list because they always seem to be in good form in the DRC league and during the early stages of the CAF Champions League season. It will hurt them to be lower on this list than Vita Club though.
3. Vita Club 74
Is this 2015 all over again, with Vita Club outdoing TP Mazembe? The second team of DRC has enjoyed that little bit more of great form over their domestic rivals. What will matter in the end though is whether they can win the Linafoot and give us a performance in the CAFCL Group Stage.
2. Raja Casablanca 78
Raja Casabalanca was usurped as the most in-form team in Africa. The fact that they crashed out of the CAF Champions League at the hands of Tengueth FC had a lot to do with it.
1. Zamalek 81
Zamalek came out of nowhere to lead the CAFCL Gazette Power Rankings for January 2021. They lead the Egyptian Premier League table and are one of the teams to watch heading into the CAFCL Group Stage this coming month.