Confederation of African Football (CAF)

Probably, the most talked about thing in Africa is sports, and precisely football. In all the countries football has a big and crazy following. From the lowest league level to the international ones, there is an unexplainable thrill and excitement. It is no surprise to see businesses, vehicles, and local teams nicknamed a ‘great football icon, stadium or team.’ Many players trace their roots to the African continent. This is an indication of how football is a popular sport.

History of Football in Africa

It was introduced in the 1800s during colonization. The sport has been gradually spreading ever since. Despite many challenges rules and regulations have been enacted to help develop the sport further.

What is The History of CAF?

This is the African football governing body and headquartered in Egypt. It has 54 members. From the start, Africa was not recognized as a confederation. In 1954, there was a vote to recognize Africa as a confederation. This meant that the continent could elect a representative into FIFA. Though some nations did not agree to this the affirmative vote carried the day. With the elevated status, four countries; South Africa, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia met in 1956 in Switzerland to discuss the formation of CAF. Fast forward to 1957, the four countries met in Sudan and CAF was born. They developed the governing rules and regulations which were later ratified by FIFA.

Over the years, there have been improvements. The governing body has matured in terms of organization. There have been an increased number of teams participating, mode of qualification, and the forms of competitions.

Which are the competitions?

1.     African Cup of Nations (AFCON)

It is held every 2 years. Globally, it is ranked third in viewership and following. The first competition was held in 1957 between the four founder members; South Africa, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The debut competition was won by Egypt and played in Sudan. In this first edition South Africa was disqualified due to the apartheid it was practicing. It had insisted on sending only white players to the tournament. During the third tournament of 1962, the competition was divided into two. Teams would participate in qualification and final stages. There have been changes all through, up to date where participation has increased to 24 teams. The latest tournament was held in Egypt in 2019 where Algeria beat Senegal in the finals. Egypt has lifted the title seven times while Cameroon has lifted it 5 times.

2.     Africa Nations Championships (CHAN)

It is a league that brings together African players playing in African leagues. The first competition was held in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009. It is also held every two years, although changes were made and are now held every even year. The Democratic Republic of Congo has won it twice while Cameroon is the current champions.

3.     CAF Champions League

This was formerly known as the African Cup of Champions Club. It premiered in 1964 and involves winners of member association leagues. The winners represent CAF in FIFA World Club Champions. The system of play in this league allows two tiers with direct eliminations. The current champions are Al Ahly of Egypt.

4.     CAF Confederations Cup

It is a combination of the African Cup Winners and the CAF Cup. It started in 2004 and is played by the winners of the national cup of member associations. The system of play is similar to that of the CAF Champions League. The league is played by 16 clubs.

Other competitions include;

  • CAF Super Cup
  • U-23 Africa Cup of Nations
  • U-20 Africa Cup of Nations
  • U-17 African Cup of Nations
  • Women’s Africa Cup of Nations
  • FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup & FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup qualifiers
  • Futsal Africa Cup of Nations
  • Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations
  • African Games (Men & Women)

Who are the Presidents?

Since its inception CAF has had many presidents, the first to lead the body was Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem of Egypt who led for 1 year. The longest-serving president was Issa Hayatou of Cameroon who has led for 29 years since 1988. The current president is Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar.

Other presidents who have led CAF include;

  • Abdel Aziz Mostafa from Egypt who led for 10 years from 1958
  • Abdel Halim Mohamed from Sudan who led for 4 years since 1968
  • Ydnekatchew Tessema from Ethiopia who succeeded Halim from Sudan. He held the position from 1972-1987.

To sum it up, the governing body has matured. With only one competition in 1957, it now boasts over 10 different competitions. Some of these competitions are highly ranked by FIFA in both viewership and following. The future of African football can only be described as bright and promising.

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