Difference between African Champions League and African Football League

The African Champions League and the African Football League tournaments bring together different teams from different African continents, each with unique allure and significance.

Each competition was founded by the Confederation of African Football and offers a sizeable paycheck to the winners.

As fans enthusiastically wait to support their favourite teams in each tournament, some need to distinguish the difference between them.

Get to learn about the African Champions League and the African Football League and the required qualifications to join the tournament.

African Football League format

The African Football League is an annual men’s football tournament founded in July 2021 by FIFA alongside the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

The FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, attended the first edition of the AFL tournament opening in October 2023 in Tanzania.

Initially launched as the African Super League with 24 African football clubs, the CAF federation lowered the number of African Football League teams to eight for its inaugural campaign.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Image: X/ Kisna1504

The team’s format includes 24 teams divided into three regional groups: North, Central and West, South and East. Each group will have eight teams and a maximum of three per country.

The competition has 197 matches, with the finalists playing a maximum of 21. Upon reaching the finals, the finalist teams play in a single match, and the team with the most scores will be declared the winner.

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The difference between the African Champions League and the African Football League is the number of teams involved, as CAF has 64 teams while AFL has 24.

However, the 2023 edition differed from the above, with the tournament consisting of eight teams contesting in a two-legged quarter-final, semi-final, and final rounds.

 The AFL is not to replace the CAF Champions League but rather work alongside it.

African Champions League format

The African Champions League, previously known as the African Cup of Champions, is an annual football competition founded by the Confederation of African Football.

This prestigious football tournament involves top-division African football team leagues competing for the title and prize money.

The tournament was founded in 1964 and has run for 60 years in stages that include the double-legged knockout stage and home and away finals.

The winner of the CAF Champions League gets to face the winner of the CAF Confederation Cup in the CAF Super Cup next season.

The runners-up, on the other hand, are eligible for the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup.

So far, the Egyptian clubs have had the most wins with 17 wins, followed by Morroco with seven wins.

Al Ahly is the most successful club in the CAF’s history, having won the tournament 11 times. They are also the current African champions, having been the winners of the 2023 finals.

How do teams qualify for the CAF Champions League?

What are the CAF Champions League qualification? A team can participate in the CAF Champions League if they meet the following qualifications:

  • The team is a winner or a title holder from the previous season of any CAF-affiliated national league.
  • The team is a runner-up in a football league among the top 12 ranked countries.
  • Possess a license issued by CAF.
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Each year, the CAF Champions League allocates the number of teams from each association based on criteria specified by the CAF Competitions Committee.

The greater an association’s ranking according to these criteria, the more teams it sends to the Champions League, and correspondingly, its teams have to participate in fewer qualification rounds.

How do teams qualify for the African Football League?

The CAF board solely chooses the African  League teams based on ranking points.
The CAF board solely chooses the African  League teams based on ranking points. Image: Wikipedia

Who qualifies for the African Champions League? The CAF board solely chooses the African  League teams based on ranking points.

The competition chooses countries like Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and South Africa, which have higher points in the continent. However, the tournament’s future goal is for various African clubs to participate.

African Football League vs African Champions League prize money

The AFL prize money was reduced from the initially anticipated $100 million for the 197-match schedule.

However, the prize money for the inaugural 2023 match included the following:

  • Winner: $4,000,000
  • Runner-up: $3,000,000
  • Each semi-finalist: $1,700,000
  • Each quarter-finalist: $1,000,000
  • 3rd in group stage: $550,000
  • 4th in group stage $550,000

On the other hand, the 2023 CAF Champion’s League prize money for the clubs includes the following:

  • Winners: $4,000,000
  • Runners-up: $2,000,000
  • Semi-finalists: $1,200,000
  • Quarter-finalists: $900,000
  • 3rd in group stage: $700,000
  • 4th in group stage: $700,000


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