African Champions League at the Crossroads

The biggest news from the end Cafe African Champions League The finale at the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca, Morocco, was that it didn’t end with a farce. Morocco Wydad AC won the trophy beating Egyptian Al-Ahly 2-0 and depriving them of the title for three years in a row.

But the story was not the final game. Instead, for weeks, history focused on a controversial build-up that threatened to overshadow Africa’s premier club competition. The decision of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to host the final in Casablanca sparked outrage online that it favored Casablanca’s hometown of Widad.

At some point the hashtag #StopCafCorruption was trending all over the world due to the announcement of the venue, with Al Ahli coach Pitso Mosimane. addition to in fight. The Egyptian super club has applied to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which rejected their statements about the postponement of the final. Ahli argued that this decision was against the principles of fair play and that the final should be played on no man’s land.

After the final, changeable Mosimane argued that Ahli would have beaten the Moroccans if the championship ended on neutral territory. Mosimane’s comment about the venue will be heard for years, and Qaf has already Considering whether to return to the two-legged final.

Cafe Dilemma

The African Champions League final has historically been a two-legged final in which each team gets the opportunity to play a match. In the event of a tie, the winner is determined by total points, away goals doubled, or by penalty kick if everything else ends in a tie. But final temperament in 2019, this format ended between Wydad from Morocco and Esperance from Tunisia.

The Caf’s decision not to name the venue for the 2022 finals before the competition was a recipe for disaster. The venue must be announced before the start of the competition to ensure fairness. The delay provided an opportunity to improve the skill of the game, and this time the skill of the game threatened to undermine the reputation of the competition.

A bald man in a blue shirt keeps both hands on top of his head, looking worried.
Al Ahli manager Pitso Mosimane sparked controversy over the venue for the final. SEBASTIAN FREY/MB Media/Getty Images

Ahly, who had won last year, was looking to win a third championship in a row, but with Kaf naming a Moroccan venue, the Egyptian side was clearly at a disadvantage.

Caf explained that he had no choice but to use the only venue available for the final. He invited bids to host his main final and only two of them met the criteria, despite multiple bids being received. The other qualifying seat was in Dakar, Senegal, but subsequently Senegal Football Federation withdrew his application, leaving the Moroccan stadium as the only qualifier on the table. Ahli was angry, and with good reason.

North African rivalry

Games, especially between North African clubs, have been temperamental and hard-fought for many years, especially on occasions where nationalism is on the rise.

Since 2017, all but one championship final has featured teams from North Africa, helping to ignite a long-running rivalry for supremacy in African club football. Morocco’s Vidad and Egypt’s Al-Ahly have intensified their rivalry.

Irritated by the controversy over the 2019 final, Kaf moved subsequent (one-legged) championships to one venue that was supposed to be neutral. The next two finals were played in Cairo and Casablanca. While the 2021 Casablanca final was a neutral venue between South African Sundowns and Egyptian Al Ahly, the 2020 final featured two Egyptian clubs in Cairo. Thus, this year’s final was the first where one of the teams had a home advantage.

Future

Cough says the difficulty in attracting the championship’s hosts is convincing them to rethink the one-game final. The cafe employee quoted saying “There are currently discussions in the Caf about going back to the old two-legged home and away final.”

But it seemed that Caf had no shortage of bids to host the final. He acknowledged that he had also received bids from Nigeria and South Africa, but He speaks that both establishments do not meet the criteria listed by Caf. In recent years, Caf has tightened its criteria for venues, and in some cases this has forced countries to host games outside of their home territory. While the new Caf criteria may force countries to improve conditions, it also means some countries will not be able to host games, including premier leagues like the African Champions League final.

But that would mean that Caf could entrench itself in another controversy when it returns for a two-legged final and if one of the finalist clubs fails to submit a qualifying spot.

Caf clearly continues to struggle to get out of the decisions made by its previous administration. This controversy surrounding the African Champions League final is symptomatic of a struggle that includes sponsorship as well as control questions, including

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