The kick-off of the new eight-team African Football League has been confirmed for October 20 by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who made the announcement at the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) General Assembly in Abidjan on Thursday.
The competition has been drastically scaled down from the original proposal of 24 teams as CAF announced a $15.7 million loss for the 2022-23 financial year.
“It will have eight great teams, which will be followed in the future with a bigger version,” Infantino told delegates. “We have to invest in African club football as well as national team football.
“It is our responsibility, duty and task, and with the work and contribution of all of us as a team, we will succeed.”
CAF’s yet to formally confirm the participating teams.
Per Reuters, it’s understood that the eight are set to be South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who are owned by the family of CAF president Patrice Motsepe, Petro Atletico from Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo’s TP Mazembe, Al Ahly from Egypt, Horoya from Guinea, Wydad Casablanca from Morocco, Tanzania’s Simba and Esperance of Tunisia.
The competition will run concurrently with CAF’s Champions League for domestic league winners across the continent and is not a replacement.
Motsepe has spoken at length in recent years of needing to improve the African football ‘product’ to make it more appealing to a global audience, with the new league said to be key to that.
“We have recognised for many years that African football players have been among the best in the world, but we have to improve the appeal of African football, its commercial viability and its capacity to sustain itself,” Motsepe told delegates.