The 2016 edition of the CAF Champions League concluded two weeks back with South African Club, Mamelodi Sundowns winning their first ever continental title beating Egyptian giants Zamalek SC 3-1 on aggregated in the final. After his clubs’ defeat Zamalek’s club president Mortada Mansour blamed his sides defeat on “Sorcery & Magic”.
Mansour could find no other reason as to why his club were so wasteful in front of goal other than “Supernatural forces”. Not to sound harsh but it is this kind of primitive thinking that has held back the continent from achieving greater heights in the game. Every year there are millions of kids across the continent who take up the game in the hopes of following the footsteps of the likes of Drogba, Yaya Toure or Samuel Eto’o, but is the continent’s flawed football system itself that stops the talented kids from progressing to the next stage.
With all this said, this article is focused on finding the top 10 football clubs from Africa, the criterion were are looking at while listing these teams include history, success – both domestically & in continental competitions, youth academies & rivalry. To be fair we have limited the number of entrants from a league to just two.
So counting down the top 10 Football clubs across Africa.
Top 10 Football Clubs in Africa – 6 to 10
10th. ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast)
Association Sportive des Employes de Commerce Mimosas or simply ASEC Mimosas is an Ivorian club based in the city of Abidjan. Nicknamed the mimosas, the club was founded in the year 1948 by a group migrants based from France & Lebanon. The Mimosas have been a part of the Ivory Coast Premier Division since it’s first season in 1960, the club are also the most successful Ivorian football club till date. Guy Fabre, Mimosas’ first coach coined the club’s motto “may the children have fun by playing football”.
The club play their home games at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan which has a seating capacity of 35,000. Roger Quegnin, is the current club president and has been in position since 1989. Mimosas at one point had an affiliation with Belgian club KSK Beveren but now are in association with Championship side, Charlton Athletic. Mimosas have an estimated fan base of 23 million within & outside the country. The club haven’t had the best of times in recent years but as history has shown they are bound to bounce back sooner rather than later. Mimosas holds the world record for the longest beaten run in domestic competitions, the club went on a unbeaten run of 108 games between 1989 & 1994.
Mimosas’ youth academy has produced some world class talents who have later gone onto dominate European Football. Some of their former Alumni include Bonaventure Kalou, Toure Brothers (Yaya & Kolo), Salomon Kalou & Gervinho.
Domestic & Continental Competitions
The club has won the Cote d’Ivoire Premier Division a total of 24 times, last of which came in 2010. Mimosas’ most dominant period were in the 90’s. In addition to the 24 league titles, Mimosas have also won the domestic cup 18 times last of which came in 2013. The club are one of the two Ivorian clubs to have won the CAF Champions League, they won the title in 1998 and finished as runners-up in 1995. Mimosas’ best ever finish in the Confederations Cup was a quarter final finish in 2011.
Mimosas have a historic rivalry with fellow Abidjan based club Africa Sports. Both the teams have jointly won the Cote d’Ivoire Premier Division 41 times while Mimosas edging out their rivals both domestically and in continental competitions. It should be noted that Africa Sports have won the defunct CAF Cup Winners Cup on two Occasions. Mimosas’ best finish in this competition was a semi-final appearance in the 1983 edition of the tournament.
9th. Asante Kotoko S.C (Ghana)
Nicknamed the Porcupines, Asante Kotoko SC is the only Ghanaian club to have made our list. The club was originally formed by a group of men from the Ashanti region in 1926, at first the club was named as Ashanti United Football club but over the years underwent several names changes. Porcupines under the current name was officially established in the year 1935, under the watchful eye of Nana Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, the king of Asantehene.
The club plays their home games at the Baba Yara Stadium which has a seating capacity of 40,000. Asante Kotoko are in association with English Premier League club Sunderland since 2011. Porcupines are one of the best supported football clubs in the continent and have a estimated fan following of our 12 million. Former Ghanaian footballer, David Duncan is the current head coach for the Porcupines while Ghanaian international Amos Frimpong serves as club captain.
Asante Kotoko were named as the best African Club of the 20th Century by I.F.F.H.S
Porcupines’ youth academy has produced a fair share of world class talents including Tony Yeboah, Issac Vorsah, Godwin Antwi & Samuel Inkoom to name a few.
Domestic & Continental Competitions
Asante Kotoko are the most successful club in the Ghanaian Premier League, the Ashanti based club has 24 league titles to their names last of which came in the 2013/14 season. The club’s most successful period were from the 70’s to the late 90’s, in addition to the league titles, the club has won the domestic cup – Ghanaian FA Cup on 8 occasions.
Porcupines are of the most successful clubs in CAF Competitions, they have won the Champions League twice (1970 & 1983) & finished as runners-up on another 5 occassions last of which was in 1993. The club’s best ever performance in the Confederations cup came in 2004 when they exited the tournament as the losing finalist. Over the last decade the club has failed to make an impact in continental competitions, making 1st or 2nd round exits whenever they’ve managed to qualify.
The rivalry between Asante Kotoko & fellow Ghanaian club Hearts of Oak is the one of the most iconic rivalries in African Football. Both these teams have jointly won 62 major titles till date with Hearts of Oak having more of an upper hand in recent times. The rivalry between these two started in 1958, when a game between these two which Hearts had won 4-3 was ordered to be replayed. Hearts went onto embarrass their opponents 5-2 in the games and the rest is history. Porcupines have a better head to head record against Hearts in their 117 meeting till date, Kotoko has won 41 while Hearts have won only 36.
Betting Tip – Over 1.5 Goals
8th. Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia)
Nicknamed the Red Devils, Etoile du Sahel or simply ESS is a Tunisian club currently playing in the Tunisian Ligue 1. The club based in the city of Sousse was established in year 1925. ESS play their home games at the Olympique Stadium which has a seating capacity of roughly around 28,000. Tunisian Politician Ridha Charfeddine, is the current club chairman and has been in position since 2012. Faouzi Benzarti is the current manager of the Red Devils, the 66 year old has over 37 years of managerial experience and has managed Etoile on 4 previous occassions. 29 year old defender Ammar Jammal is the current captain of the club.
Etoile are the current Tunisian Ligue 1 champions (2015/16) edging out Esperance by just 5 points. The club are one of the most successful clubs in the competitions with 10 league titles till date. In fact the club only ranks behind Esperance (26) & Club Africain (13) in overall league titles. Etoile has had a good amount success both in the league and in Continental competitions in the last decade, but has never dominated over a significant period of time. ESS have won the Tunisian Cup on 10 occassions last of which came in 2015.
The Red Devils along with Esperance & Club Africain form what is called as the Tunisian triangle. The three clubs have pretty much dominated Tunisian football winning the Ligue title a combined 49 times and the domestic cup 36 times.
Betting Tips – Etoile X Esperance – Home Advantage
Etoile are without doubt one of the most accomplished clubs in CAF competitions. After finishing 2nd best in two consecutive editions of the Champions League in 2004 & 2005, the club won it’s one and only title till date in the 2007 edition of the tournament when they defeated Egyptian club Al-Ahly 3-1 in a two legged final.
ESS are the second most successful club behind fellow Tunisian club CS Sfaxien in the Confederations Cup. The club has two titles to their name first of which came in 2006 & the 2nd one in 2015 when they defeated Orlando Pirates 2-1 on aggregate. Etoile came close to defending their title this season but made a semi-final exit after losing to eventual winners TP Mazembe on away goals after the two legged final ended 1-1.
The club has been blessed with the presence of some quality players during it’s time – Abderraouf Ben Aziza (Part of the 1978 Tunisian World Cup Squad), Yassine Chikhaoui (Club Captain at the age of 19 & went onto play in Europe for FC Zurich), Slah Karoui (Part of the 1978 Tunisian World Cup Squad), Abdelmajid Chetali (Spend more than 12 years at the club as players & has managed both Etoile and the Tunisian national team since retiring) & Radhouane Salhi (Goalkeeper, Spend his entire 15 year career with the club).
7th. Enyimba International F.C (Nigeria)
Enyimba International FC, simply known as Enyimba is a Nigerian Premier League club, based in the city of Aba. Also known as the Aba Warriors, the club is owned by the Abia state government. Enyimba was originally part of the IMO state when it was established but once the state was divided, the club became part of the newly formed Abia start, since 1991 the Abia government has taken care of the day to day proceedings of the club. The Aba Warriors are on the riches football clubs in the continent with an annual revenue of over 10€ million. Enyimba has one of the biggest support base in the continent with an estimated 90 million supporters.
The club’s name in local language means, the People’s Elephant and that is incidentally their nickname. Enyimba plays it’s home games at the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba which has a capacity of slightly over 25,000. Paul Aigbogun is the current manager of the Elephants having replaced Kadiri Ikhana in Jan, 2016. Aigbogun was a former assistant manager at the club under Salisu Yusuf in 2013. Felix Anyansi Agwu is the current club chairman who has been in position for 17 years, the club’s dominance over the last two decades is attributed to the contributed to the contributions of Agwu. Defender Chinedu Udoji is the current captain of the Elephants.
Domestic & Continental Success
Enyimba have a total of 7 Nigerian Premier league titles to their name last of which came in the 2015 season. Along with Enugu Rangers(7), Enyimba are the most successful team in the competition. The club has won the Nigerian FA Cup 4 times (last win – 2014) & the Nigerian Super Cup 4 times (last win – 2013). Most of Enyimba’s success have come in the recent times especially since the league shifted to a professional format. The club has by some margin dominated Nigerian Football in the last 15 years.
The Elephants till date are the only Nigerian club to have won the CAF Champions League title, Enyimba secured the title on two occassions – 2003 & 2004. The club has struggled to make an impact in the competition since 2004 which their best ever finish since being a semi-final exit losing to Wydad Casablanca in the 2011 edition of the tournament. The club only appeared in the Confederations Cup once, in 2010 but made a exit at the round of 16’s stage. Enyimba has also won the CAF Super Cup on two occassions (2004& 2005).
Enyimba shares a strong rivalry with a number of clubs in the Nigerian Premier League. Enyimba along with Enugu Rangers, Heartland & Kano Pillars are the strongest teams in the league and all of them share a intense rivalry with each other. The games between the trio of Enugu Rangers, Enyimba & Heartland are called the Oriental Derby. Kano Pillars who have had a good amount of success in recent years competes in the Kings Derby against Enyimba.
Betting Tip: – Over 2.5 Goals + Home Advantage
Perhaps the most prominent players to come out of Enyimba is Vincent Enyeama, the former Nigerian International is regarded as of the best players to ever represent the country & is currently the No.1 for former French Ligue 1 Champions Lille. Another former Enyimba player who has plyed his trade in Ligue 1 was Mouritala Ogunbiyi, the Benin International was part of Enyimba’s 2003 & 2004 Champions League winning squad and had played of Guingamp in Ligue 1. The list goes on but the last name we want to mention is that of Mfon Udoh, the 24 year old is currently part of the Enyimba squad but has gone onto re-write a lot of records during his stint.
6th. Esperance Sportive de Tunis (Tunisia)
The 2nd & final Tunisian Club on our list is Esperance Sportive de Tunis also known as Taraji or EST for short. Based in the city of Tunis, Esperance currently plays in the Tunisian Ligue 1. The club was founded on January 15th, 1919 after a meeting between the co-founders of the club, Mohammed Zouaoui & Hedi Kallel at a local cafe. Both the founders went onto play for the club in their initial years.
Nicknamed Mkachka, the club plays it’s home games at the Stade Olympique de Rades which has a seating capacity of 60,000. Hamdi Meddeb is the current chairman of the club and has been in office since 2007. Former player Ammar Souayah is the current head coach and has been in charge since August, 2015. Souayah has had previous managerial stints with both Etoile as well as the Tunisian national team. Khalil Chemmam, a Tunisian international who has been capped for over 25 times is the current captain of the club. Chemmam has spend a total of 9 years with the club and is a product of the ES Tunis Youth Academy.
Domestic & International Competitions
Esperance without doubt has dominated Tunisian Football since the 70’s and had success even during the league’s early days. They have a total of 26 league titles to their name which is twice as much as Club Africain have. Esperance won the title for 7 consecutive seasons between 1998 and 2004. The club were ranked in the top 5 of the greatest African football clubs in the 20th century by I.F.F.H.S. In addition to the league titles the club has won the Tunisian Cup a total of 15 and are the current holders of the competition.
Mkachka has won the CAF Champions League on two occassions, last of which was in 2011 and have been the finalists on 4 different occasions, lastly in 2012. Esperance took part in the Confederations Cup this season but made a play-off round exit. In addition to these, ES Tunis have won a number of defunct continental competitions such as the CAF Cup in 1997, African Cup Winners’ Cup in 1998 & the Afro-Asian Cup in 1995.
As mentioned, Esperance shares a rivalry with both Club Africain and Etoile du Sahel, the trio makes up the Tunisian triangle. Of the two Club Africain is considered Esperance’s arch rivals and the games between these two are played at the Stade Olympique de Rades due to it’s larger seating capacity. Esperance has the definite advantage in terms of trophy count but looking at their head to head record over the last decade, Mkachka still has an advantage with 12 wins in 27 games while Club Africain has only 7 wins to their credit.
Betting Tip: – Over 2.5 goals
The Es Tunis Youth Academy is without doubt the best in the continent. The greatest players to have ever graced the pitch for Esperance is without doubt Tarak Dhiab, the former Tunisian International spend all but two of his 18 year long professional career with the club. During his time, Dhiab played a total of 427 games and scored 127 goals, both of which still remain a club record.
Some of the other players – past & present to have played for the club includes:-
- Oussama Darragi (Active, An product of Esperance Youth Academy, Won Arabic Ballon d’Or in 2012 & Best Tunisian Player in 2009)
- Khalid Ben Yahia (Retired, Played his entire career with the club, Won the Tunisian Footballer of the Year award twice – 1981 & 1987, managed the club in three stints)
- Chokri El Ouaer (Retired, Academy Product, 15+ years with the club & made over 350 appearances)
- Jose Clayton (Brazilian National, Played for Tunisian National team after acquiring citizenship, played for over 8 season for Esperance)
Top 10 African Football Clubs – 1 to 5
5th. Jeunesse Sportive de Kabylie (Algeria)
Based in the city of Tizi Ouzou, Jeunesse Sportive de Kabyile simply known as JS Kabylie or JSK is an Algerian club currently part of the Algerian Ligue 1. The club plays it’s home games at the Stade 1er Novembre 1954 which houses a capacity of 22,000. Nicknamed the Canaries, JSK has a unique history behind the establishment of the club.
The club was officially established on August 2nd, 1946 as a result of an Allied Invasion on French North Africa during the 2nd World War. During it’s early days JSK were forced to play in the lower divisions as it was a Muslim club. It was only after the country attained independence in 1962 that the club themselves were free of all the politics. The Canaries continued to play in the lower divisions but in 1969 was finally promoted to the top tier.
Mohand Cherif Hannachi, a former Algerian international is the current club chairman and has been in position since 1993. 36 year old Ali Rial, a former Algerian International is the current club captain. A whirlwind 205-16 season saw as many as three managers in charge of the club, the Canaries ultimately stuck with Kamel Mouassa and he led them to a 3rd place.
Domestic & Continental Success
The canaries are to this day, the most successful club in the Algerian Professional League. The club has won the competition a total of 14 times, last of which came in the 2007/08 season. In addition to the league titles, the club has finished runners-up in the competition a total of 10 times. JSK’s dominant period came a decade after their promotion to the top-flight for the first time in 1969, the canaries won the title a total of 6 times during the 80’s. Kabyile has also won the Algerian Cup a total of 5 times last of which came in 2011.
Canaries became the first Algerian club to win the CAF Champions League in 1981 and went onto repeat the feat again in 1990. JSK are yet to win the Confederations Cup but has won a couple of defunct continental competitions such as the CAF Cup (2000,01 & 02) & the CAF Cup Winners’s Cup (1995).
JSK shares a strong rivalry with clubs based in Bejaia – JSM Bejaia & MO Bejaia. The games the JSK and the Bejaia clubs are called the Kabyile Derby. Canaries’ fiercest rivals are without doubt USM Alger, the games between these to arch rivals are called the Kabylo-Algiers Derby. Between the two, the clubs have 21 of the 54 league titles till date. Looking at the head to head records between the two, both the clubs have 28 wins to their credit in 87 games. In recent times, USM Alger has had an upper hand over their rivals.
Betting Tip – JSK vs USM Alger – Draw + Under 2.5 Goals
Like of the other clubs on this list, JS Kabyile has been blessed with a wealth of talent over the years, some of the greats to have played for the club includes – Mustapha Anane (Retired, Youth academy product that spend his entire career with club, former Algerian International), Bachir Douadi (A former Algerian International & spend a total of 15 years with the club), Ali Fergani (One of the very few to have have played for & managed both JS Kabyile & Algerian National team), Abdelhamid Sadmi (Another Academy product that spend his entire career with club and was a capped Algerian International) & Salah Larbes (16 year playing career with JS Kabyile & was a former Algerian International).
4th. Raja Club Athletic (Morocco)
Raja Club Athletic, also known as Raja Casablanca is a Moroccan club that current plays in the top tier of Moroccan association football, Botola Pro 1. The club based in the city of Casablanca plays it’s home games at the Stade Mohammed V which has a maximum seating capacity of 67,000. Nicknamed the Green Devils, the club was founded in the year 1949 by a group of Moroccan nationalists, who aimed at providing a better environment for the working class Moroccans during their liberation struggle against the French.
The formation of the club inadvertently provided opposition to another Casablanca club, Wydad Athletic Club. Said Hasbane is the current club chairman who took charge early this year. Former Red Devils’ player Mohammed Fakhir is the current manager. the 63 year old who spend his entire playing career with the club has been manager of the club on 4 previous occasions. Mohammed Oulhaj, a former youth academy product who made his senior team debut in 2006 is the current club captain.
In addition to being one of the most successful football clubs in the continent, the club is arguably the most supported in the continent as well. The Green Devils were ranked as the 3rd greatest African football club of the 20th century by the I.F.F.H.S.
Domestic & Continental Success
The Green Devils was a part of the Moroccan Football League ever since it’s formation in 1956. They are one of the most successful clubs in the competition, winning the top flight title a total of 11 times, last of which came in the 2012/13 season. Looking at the league over the last two decades, the Green Devils without doubt are the stand out team in the league. The club could only manage a 5th place finish last season (2015/16), 3 points off 3rd place. Raja Casablanca, in addition to the 11 league titles has won the Moroccan domestic cup a total of 7 times, last of which was won in the 2011/12 season.
The club to this day are the most successful Moroccan club in continental competitions, Raja has won the CAF Champions League on three occasions (1989,1997 & 1999). The club’s best ever finish since their triumph in 1999, was a runners-up finish in the 2002 edition of the tournament. In addition to the Champions League, Raja has won the CAF Super Cup in 2000 & the defunct CAF Cup in 2003. Raja has competed in the FIFA Club World Cup and became 2nd African club to reach the finals of the tournament in 2013 but ultimately lost of Bavarian giants Bayern Munich 2-0, the club qualified for the tournament as the champions of the host nation.
Raja Casablanca shares a fierce rivalry with fellow Casablanca based club, Wydad Casablanca. The games between the duo is called the Casablanca Derby and is one of biggest games in Morocco. Wydad has the upper hand in term of domestic league titles (13) but Raja has a definite bragging right in terms of continental success. Casablanca derby is considered one of the greatest derbies in the world for the action on the pitch and also for the atmosphere created by the supporters.
This fixture has witnessed it’s fair share of violence most recently in 2010, when the game between the two which Raja had won 1-0 ended with the supporters of the two sides clashing against each other, resulting in the arrest of over a 100 from either side.
Betting Tip: – Raja has been dominant in recent times but Wydad can cause an upset at home – Over 2.5 Goals
The Green Devils have one of the best youth academies in the continent and has produced it’s fair share of World Class talents over the years
- Salaheddine Bassir (Academy product, Made his professional debut with club, Went onto play for Deportivo in Spain & Lille in France, finished his career with Raja itself).
- Abdelmajid Dolmy (Considered as one of the greatest African players of all time, amazed over 130 caps for Morocco & spend all but three of his 21 year career with Raja).
- Houmane Jarir (Academy product, spend his entire professional career with the club, Was part of the 1970 Moroccan World Cup Squad)
- Moustapha Choukri (Academy Product, Was part of the 1970 Moroccan World Cup Squad, Unexpectedly passed away at the age of 32 while with the club).
3rd. Tout Puissant Mazembe (DR Congo)
Tout Puissant Mazembe or simply TP Mazembe is a club based in the city of Lubumbashi, currently playing in the top flight of the DR Congo Football Federation, the Linafoot. Mazembe play’s its home games at the Stade TP Mazembe which has a seating capacity of just 18,000. Even though the club crest consists of a crocodile biting on a football, the club are nicknamed the Ravens.
The club was established by a group of Benedictine Monks in 1939 to promote extra-curricular activities among the students of the Holy Institute of Boniface Elisabethville located in Lubumbashi. The club were initially named as Saints Georges FC & took part in the 1st division of the FRASI, setup by the ruling Belgian King. Over they years, the club underwent several name changes before settling on TP Mazemebe. TP stands for Tout Puissant which translates to all-powerful, it was a title they earned after winning their 1st top flight title in 1966. going undefeated throughout the entire season.
Moise Katumbi, a Congolese politician & businessman is the club president and has been in position since 1997. Hubert Velud is the current manager of the Ravens and has been in change since January, 2016. Joel Kimwaki, a DR Congo international is the current club captain.
Domestic & Continental Success
Mazembe are the current Linafoot Champions (2015/16) and have a total of 15 league titles to their name. The club has been extremely dominant since the turn of the century, amazing 10 league titles during his period. Ravens have had a reasonable amount in the domestic cup winning 5 Coupe du Congo titles till date. In addition to these the club has also won the Super Coupe du Congo a total of three times (2013,14 & 16).
The Ravens are one of the most successful African clubs in continental competitions, Mazembe has won the CAF Champions a total of 5 times last of which came in 2015. Looking at the competition in the last decade, the club has easily been the most dominant winning three of their five titles in this period.
The club are the current holders of the Confederations Cup beating Algerian 5-2 on aggregate in the final. Raven’s only other appearance in the finals of the Confederation Cup was back in 2013, but lost to Tunisian club CS Sfaxien 3-2 in the final. In addition to these continental accolades, Mazembe has won the CAF Super Cup thrice & the defunct CAF Cup Winners’ Cup once.
In 2010, the club became the first African club to reach the finals of the FIFA Club World Cup but lost 3-0 to Italian giants Inter Milan in the final.
AS Vita Club, based in the city of Kinshasa, is TP Mazembe’s fiercest rival within the league. Both these clubs have together won 14 league titles and over the last 8 seasons it has either of the two who has won it. Mazembe’s most dominant period were the late 60’s and 2000’s while AS Vita Club were at their peak during the 70’s & 80’s. Another of Mazembe’s rival within league are Saint-Eloi Lupopo who have 6 league titles to their credit but the last of those came way back in 2002.
Betting Tip: – Home team has the upper hand
- Ngoy Bomboko (Forward, Spend all but one of this 15 year career with Mazembe, DR Congo International)
- Mwepu Ilunga (Zaire International, Was part of Zaire’s squad for the 1974 World Cup, Won the 1967 CAF Champions League with Mazembe).
- Kazadi Mwambe (Former DR Congo International, Voted DR Congo’s Goalkeeper of the century in 2006)
- Robert Kidiaba (Active, Has been with Mazembe since 2002, Famous for his Bum-Shuffle celebrations)
- Tresor Mputu (12 years with Club, Congo DR International, Won the Best Player award in 2009 by GLO-CAF)
- Given Singuluma (Been with the club Since 2009, Zambia International).
The Bum-Shuffle Celebration: –
2nd. Zamalek Sporting Club (Egypt)
Based in Giza, Zamalek SC plays in the top tier of Egyptian Professional Football, the Egyptian Premier League. The club plays it’s home games at the Cairo international stadium which houses a capacity of 75,000 & the Petro Sports Stadium which houses a capacity of 16,000. White Knights & Royal club, are two of the most popular nicknames of the club.
The club was officially established on January 5th, 1911. Founded by a Belgian lawyer, George Marzbach it was the first non-English football club to be formed in Cairo and was regarded as a club for the common man, irrespective of his/her social status. Zamalek were first named as Qasr El-Neel Club but in 1913 was changed to El-Mokhtalat club. In 1941, the club underwent another name change and was named after the then king of Egypt as King Farouk Club. The club settled on it’s current name in 1952 after the Egyptian revolution.
Mortada Mansour, an Egyptian politician is the club president and has been in charge since 2014, Mortada has been in position on two other occasions. Moamen Soliman who used to a wing-back for the club in his playing days is the current manager of the club. Mahmoud Abdel Razek Fadlallah, popularly known as Shikabala who was a former academy product of the club is the current club captain. Shikabala also serves as the current captain of the Egyptian national team.
Domestic & Continental Success
Zamalek are the 2nd most successful club in the Egyptian Premier League with 12 titles till date, last of which was won in the 2014-15 season. The White Knights have finished as the runners-up of the competition a record 32 times and have finished in the top 3 in 52 of the 57 completed seasons till date. The club are once again the 2nd most successful club in the Egyptian cup with 25 titles & 13 runners-up finish till date. Zamalek are the reigning champions having beat Al-Ahly 3-1 in last season’s final.
The White Knights along with TP Mazembe are the 2nd most successful club in the CAF Champions League. Zamalek have 5 titles to their name along with two runners up finish, the last time the club won the competition was back in 2002 when they defeated Raja Casablanca 1-0 on aggregate in the final. The club finished as runners-up in the recently concluded 2016 CAF Champions League, losing 3-1 to South African Mamelodi Sundowns in the final. Zamalek has also won the defunct Afro-Asian cup twice (1987 & 1997) & the Arab Club World Cup once (2003).
Ultras are the type of supporters who would resort to violence, hate-mongering slogans & pyros during a game in the name of supporting their club. The Ultras unit of Zamalek are called the Ultra White Knights and their motto reads “Brotherhood in blood”. Zamalek’s Ultras unite was banned as a result of a campaign by current club president Mortada Mansour. Apart from the Ultras, the club has a faithful fan following and almost all their games are played out in front of a packed stadium.
- Ayman Younes (Holds the record for the fastest goal in the Egyptian Premier League – 13 seconds vs Sues, Spend a total of 13 years with the club & has also featured for the Egyptian national team)
- Abdel Halim Ali (Retired Striker, Spend a total of 10 years with the club, Has scored a total 134 goals for the club & was capped by the Egyptian National team, currently works as an assistant manager at the club)
- Mohammed Abdel Monsef (Keeper, Spend more than a decade with the club & also featured for the Egyptian National team)
- Tarik Yehia (Winger, More than 10 years with the club & Egyptian International)
- Mido (Perhaps the most popular of the lot to Europeans, Product of Zamalek Youth Academy, Played for the likes of Ajax, Marseille, Tottenham & Middlesbrough)
1st. Al Ahly Sporting Club (Egypt)
Based in the city of Cairo, Al Ahly has and to this day is the most dominant club in the continent. The club plays it’s home games at the Cairo International Stadium also known as the El Qahira El Dawly Stadium which has a seating capacity of 1,30,000. Al Ahly are nicknamed the Red Devils due to their Red Jersey. Al Ahly when translated means “The National”.
The club was officially established on April 24th, 1907. It was founded by Omar Lotfi as part of the Cairo Students Unions revolt against the colonization of Egypt. Mahmoud Taher is the current club president and has been in position since 2014. Hossam El-Badry, a former youth academy product & Egyptian international is the current manager of the club. He has been in charge of the club as manager on two previous occasions and has been their football director on one occassion. The 56 year old is currently in charge of the Egyptian U-23 team along with Al-Ahly.
Hossam Ghaly, 34 year old midfielder who was a former academy product of Al-Ahly is the current captain of the Red Devils. Ghaly has had previous stints in Europe with Spurs & Feyenoord.
Domestic & Continental Success
Al-Ahly has a incredible 38 domestic league titles to their name. The Red Devils are the current holders of the Egyptian Premier League finishing 7 points ahead of Zamalek SC last season. Al-Ahly has finished among the top 3 in 52 of the 57 Egyptian Premier League seasons till date. The club won the first 9 seasons of the competition before Zamalek made history with their first win in the 1959/60 season. Al Ahly also holds the record for the most number of titles in the Egyptian Cup with 35, they have also finished as the runners-up on 15 occassions. The last time the club won the competition was in 2007 and two of their 35 wins are shared with Zamalek.
Red Devils have a record 8 Champions league titles to their name & has also finished as the runners-up on two occasions. The club won the competition for the first time in 1982 and the last of those 8 titles came in 2013 when they defeated South African club Orlando Pirates 3-1 on aggregate in the final. Al-Ahly took part in the 2016 edition of the Champions league but made a shock exit in the group stages finishing 3rd in their group. In addition to their success in the champions league, the club has also the Confederations cup once in 2014 beating Ivorian club, Sewe Sport de San-Pedro on away goals rule after the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate.
The club has also won the CAF Super Cup 6 times & the defunct African Cup Winners’ Cup 4 times. Al Ahly’s best ever finish in the FIFA Club World Cup was a 3rd place finish in the 2006 edition of the tournament. The club has also won the defunct Afro-Asian Cup on one occasion in 1988. The 2005 season saw the club going undefeated in all competition and won 5 of the 6 possible trophies.
Zamalek SC are Al-Ahly’s fiercest rivals are the matches between these two are called the Cairo Derby or the Egyptian Clasico. The first ever meeting between these two took place in February, 1917 & Al-Ahly came out 1-0 victors. The derby between the two is one of the fiercest in the world and was ranked 8th in a survey conducted by the World Soccer Magazine in 2008.
Both Al-Ahly & Zamalek were ranked 1st & 2nd greatest African Clubs of the 20th century by CAF. In the 155 meetings till date, Al Ahly has a distant lead over their arch rivals with 63 wins while Zamalek have only 36 to their credit, 56 games have ended in stalemate. The biggest winning margin in this derby go to Zamalek’s credit having beaten their rivals 6-0 on two occassion – 1942 Cairo League & 1944 Cup Final, it should be noted that both were regional competitions.
Betting Tip – Under 2.5 goals
- Mohammed Aboutrika ( Considered to be one of the Egyptian greatest players of all time, Played 10 seasons for the club & 24 titles with them, Made over an 100 appearances for the national team & has been awarded the best African Players award on 4 occasion – 2006,2008,2012 & 2013).
- Erand Moteab (An academy product, Made his senior team club in 2002 & is still active with the club, Has won a total 22 titles with club)
- Mohammed Barakat (Part of the Bermuda Triangle along with Aboutrika & Moteab, Nicknamed the Mercurial, Played for a total of 11 season with club & was also a Egyptian international)
- Hossam Hassan (Former academy product, Total of 12 seasons with the club, Played for the Egyptian national side for 21 years)
- Ramadan Sobhi (Drafted to the youth academy academy at the age of 8, made his senior team debut for the club at 17 & went onto play for two years, Signed by Premier League club Stoke City last summer, Has been capped by the Egyptian National team a total of 8 times till date)
- Mahmoud El Gohary (Won a total of 15 titles with club as a players, Has managed the club on three occasions all of which came between 1991-93, Gohary did go onto manage Zamalek on one occasion)
- Mahmoud El Khatib (Current Vice-President of the club, Was nicknamed the Bibo during his playing days, An academy product that spend his entire career with club & also featured for the Egyptian national side).
 theguardian.com, Zamalek President Blames Sorcery for his club’s defeat
 wikipedia.org, Tunisian Triangle
 bbc.com, TP Mazembe wins their 2nd ever Confederations Cup