The CAF Champions League, a tournament where the best clubs on the continent lock horns and compete for the title of ‘champions of Africa’, was concluded over last weekend, with Algerian side ES Setif winning the trophy.
The title, the second in ES Setif’s history, was sealed after a second leg 1-1 draw against AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo as they won the title on away goals after a 3-3 draw over the course of both legs.
The win sees ES Setif claim a whopping $1.5 million in prize money for finishing as champions while AS Vita also banked $1 million for emerging runners-up. The money-spinning competition also saw TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo and CS Sfaxien of Tunisia, the semi-finalists, bank $700,000 each. Other clubs who made the group stage but failed to qualify for the knock-out rounds also split $1.8 million among themselves.
The huge sums that these clubs accrue from this competition is a lot of motivation for clubs on the continent as the CAF Champions League represents an immense opportunity for African club sides to bank significant sums which can well and truly ensure their long-term survival and competitiveness.
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has congratulated the ES Setif side saying that the title win was significant as it was “a precious gift” for the Algerian people. President Bouteflika also said the victory was the reward for hard work.
“The major football team ES Setif offered our public and the Algerian people a precious gift on the day of the anniversary of the outbreak of November Revolution, adding further joy to this historic event,” President Bouteflika said. “This victory at CAF Champions League is not a coincidence, it is the result of the efforts spent by this team during awkward games with strong African teams,” he added
The President expressed hope that the win will boost the growth of sports in general in Algeria as he said that there was plenty of potential in the country. As a result of emerging champions, ES Setif will represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup competition in Morocco next month.
The CAF Champions League kicked off on February 7 as 58 African clubs from 47 different national associations competed for the trophy. A total of 126 games were played and there were 313 goals scored. The tournament returns next year as African clubs will seek to replicate ES Setif’s success. Al Ahly of Egypt remain the competition’s most successful team with eight titles, the last of which came in 2013.