CAF's AFL introduces jaw-dropping prize money, shaking up African football with millions up for grabs, raising clubs' and fans' expectations.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has unveiled the staggering prize money for the inaugural African Football League (AFL) competition, sending ripples of excitement through the continent's football fraternity.
The AFL, poised to kick off on Friday, October 20, 2023, in the vibrant city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, promises a financial windfall for the crème de la crème of African football.
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The stage is set for a high-stakes showdown as Simba from Tanzania and Al Ahly from Egypt prepare to vie for the coveted AFL crown. But what is truly turning heads is the jaw-dropping prize money up for grabs in this competition.
The financial bonanza that awaits the AFL participants is nothing short of eye-popping. With a staggering $4,000,000 (Ksh584,000,000) earmarked for the victors, the winning club is on the cusp of a footballing fortune. Even the runners-up will walk away with an impressive $3,000,000 (Ksh438,000,000).
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But the bounty does not stop there; the semi-finalists will pocket $1,700,000 ((Ksh248,000,000) each, and the quarter-finalists will not leave empty-handed, taking home $1,000,000 (Ksh146,000,000) each.
What makes this prize money so compelling is the streamlined path to riches. The champion will need to navigate just six matches, a testament to the competitive edge and intensity that the AFL promises.
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But it is not just about money; the AFL is on a mission to elevate African club football to global prominence. The competition, born from the partnership between CAF and FIFA, has a noble objective: to ensure that African football clubs not only compete on the world stage but also become commercially viable entities. Additionally, the AFL seeks to nurture and develop youthful football talent across the continent.
The AFL's reach extends far beyond the participating clubs. CAF envisions that all 54 member associations, including those without representation in the AFL, will reap the benefits of its commercial success. This visionary approach aims to bolster the financial foundations of African football at large.
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The roster of AFL competitors reads like a who's who of African football royalty. Alongside Simba SC and Al Ahly SC, the tournament features Enyimba FC (Nigeria), Wydad AC (Morocco), Mamelodi Sundowns FC (South Africa), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Espérance Sportive de Tunis (Tunisia), and Atlético Petróleos de Luanda (Angola).
The AFL will adopt a knockout format, comprising quarterfinals, semifinals, and a grand finale. Each tie will be fiercely contested over two legs, one at home and one away, with the away goal rule in full effect.
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In the event of a draw after the conclusion of the second leg, there will be no extra time during the quarterfinal or semi-final stages; the matches will head straight to penalty shootouts, keeping fans on the edge of their seats.
Technology will play a pivotal role in the AFL, as VAR (Video Assistant Referee) will be available for every match, ensuring the highest standards of officiating and fairness.
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The semi-finals of the African Football League are scheduled for October 29 (first leg) and November 1 (second leg), promising thrilling encounters that will shape the path to the championship.
The first leg of the final is set for November 5, with the grand climax occurring six days later on November 11, when one club will claim not only the title but also the lion's share of the staggering $4,000,000 prize money.