No Nigerian club will feature in the inaugural edition of the African Super League, which is expected to kick off in August. Enyimba of Aba was the only Nigerian side earlier listed to participate in the league, which was formerly meant to feature 24 teams. But the Peoples Elephant and some other big names in African football have been excluded from the competition, which will now feature only eight teams.
According to sources close to the planners of the league, the eight teams expected to feature in the inaugural edition are Al Ahly (Egypt), Petro de Luanda (Angola), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Horoya (Guinea), Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco), Simba SC (Tanzania), Esperance de Tunis (Tunisia) and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
Raja Athletic Club of Morocco, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa, Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia, Asec Mimosas of Cote d’Ivoire and Zamalek of Egypt are some of the other big clubs excluded from the competition. And there is also no West African team in the inaugural competition.
A source told The Guardian that the listed clubs have accepted the invitation to participate in the league. Selected FIFA and Super League delegates recently met with the clubs.
When the idea of the CAF Super League was first muted, it was proposed that 24 teams from 16 countries will participate in it, but the number was later reduced to eight ‘for better coordination.’
“CAF officials have visited the selected clubs to inspect the standard of their facilities and nail down the final details,” the source said.
When the idea of the Super League was proposed by CAF President, Patrice Motsepe, the total prize pool was $100 million for a 24-team tournament. The clubs were supposed to receive $1 million as participation grant. But, it is not yet clear if the conditions still subsist for the eight teams in the pilot edition.
CAF has also not specified if the winner will play in the expanded Club World Cup, which offers four places to Africa.
The African Super League, according to Motsepe, will breathe new life into African club competition Speaking while unveiling the competition last year, Motsepe said the competition would be launched during CAF’s 44th ordinary assembly in Tanzania on August 10.
“We have been inundated with investors and sponsors, who are anxious to partner with us on the CAF Super League. It has huge potential to significantly uplift African football and to make it even more powerful,” Motsepe said.
He added: “A significant amount of the money from the CAF Super League will be invested back into African football and part of the process involves giving $1 million every year to every one of CAF’s 54 member associations, as a contribution to football and youth development. We also want to look to increase the prize money for the men’s and women’s CAF Champions Leagues.”