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Confederation of African Football

The Confederation of African Football or CAF is the administrative and controlling body for African association football.

CAF represents the national football associations of Africa, runs continental, national, and club competitions, and controls the prize money, regulations and media rights to those competitions.

CAF is the biggest of the six continental confederations of FIFA. Since the expansion of the number of teams at the World Cup finals to 32 in 1998, CAF has been allocated five places, though this was expanded to six for the 2010 tournament in South Africa, to include the hosts.

CAF was established on 8 February 1957 at the Grand Hotel in Khartoum, Sudan, by Egyptian, Ethiopian, South African and Sudanese FAs, following former discussions between the Egyptian, Somali, South African and Sudanese FAs earlier on 7 June 1956 at the Avenida Hotel in Lisbon, Portugal.

Its first headquarters was situated in Khartoum for some months until a fire outbreak in the offices of the Sudanese Football Association when the organization moved near Cairo, Egypt. Youssef Mohamad was the first general secretary and Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem the president.

Since 2002, the administrative centre has been located in 6th of October City, Cairo, Egypt. CAF currently has 54 member associations: 54 are full members, while Zanzibar and Réunion are associate members (see the CAF Members and Zones section below).

The current CAF President is Patrice Motsepe from South Africa, who was elected on 12th March 2021. The 1st Vice-President is Augustin Senghor from Senegal, the 2nd Vice-President is Ahmed Yahya from Mauritania and the 3rd Vice-President is Waberi Souleiman from Djibouti.

Current CAF General Secretary is the Swiss-Congolese Véron Mosengo-Omba since 13th March 2021.

Major International Competitions

AFCON – Africa Cup of Nations

The AFCON, also known as the CAN (Coupe d’Afrique des Nations), is the biggest international football competition in Africa. It was founded in 1957 and is regulated by the CAF. It features 24 of the best footballing nations in Africa who earn their spots by qualifying through the Africa Qualifiers.

African Nations Championship

The CAF African Nations Championship, also called the Championnat d’Afrique des Nations (CHAN), is a tournament that features the top 16 African nations, exclusively featuring players who have been active in the national championships and qualify to play in the season. Expatriate players cannot feature in this tournament.

Qualification takes place in the following manner –

  • North Zone – 2 teams
  • West A Zone- 2 teams
  • West B Zone – 3 teams
  • Central Zone – 3 teams
  • Central-East Zone – 3 teams
  • Southern Zone – 3 teams

Out of these, only 15 spots are up for grabs and one of these slots is automatically filled by the host nation, which means that if the host nation is from the North Zone or Zone West A then only 1 team from either zone would be qualifying.

Africa Qualifiers

The Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers features all the CAF member countries. Currently, there are 54 nations in Africa that are recognized by the CAF and they compete for the 24 positions that are available for the AFCON. Teams are divided into 12 groups that are decided basis a 5-Pot system and the top 2 from each group make it through to the final tournament.

World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

The 54 CAF nations go through a three-round process to fight for the 5 spots available in the FIFA World Cup – the world’s biggest international football tournament.

The first round features the African teams ranked from 27 to 54 playing two legs against each other both, home and away. The 14 winners advance to the second round.

The second round features the 14 qualifiers along with the remaining teams (ranked 1 to 26). These 40 teams are divided into 10 groups of 4 as they play home and away matches in a round-robin format. The 10 group winners advance to the third and final round.

These 10 winners then face-off in a two-leg system (home and away) and the 5 winners from these secure their place in the FIFA World Cup.

Major Club Competitions

CAF Champions League (CAFCL)

The CAF Champions League is an annual continental club football competition run by the CAF. The top club sides from Africa’s football leagues are invited to participate in this competition. Due to sponsorship reasons, the official name is Total CAF Champions League, with Total Champions League also in use.

The winner of the tournament earns a berth for the FIFA Club World Cup, a tournament contested between the champion clubs from all six continental confederations, and also faces the winner of the CAF Confederation Cup in the following season’s CAF Super Cup.

Al Ahly is the most successful club in the competition’s history, having won the tournament nine times. Egyptian clubs have accumulated the highest number of victories, winning the title 15 times.

CAF Confederation Cup (CAFCC)

The CAF Confederation Cup, officially named Total CAF Confederation Cup, is an annual club association football competition organised by the CAF since 2004.

Clubs qualify for the competition based on their performance in their national leagues and cup competitions. It is the second-tier competition of African club football, ranking below the CAF Champions League.

The winner of the tournament faces the winner of the CAF Champions League in the following season’s CAF Super Cup.

CAF Super Cup

The CAF Super Cup (also known as African Super Cup or for sponsorship reasons Total CAF Super Cup) is an annual African association football competition contested between the winners of the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup.

The competition was first held in 1993 and is organized by the CAF.