No one can deny the high level that African football has reached in the last three decades. National teams, local clubs, and the large number of African footballers playing all over the world, have all shown great physical and technical qualities. Thus, it’s hard to predict the results of games when African clubs play in local or international tournaments. Experts say that this noticeable progress in African football is thanks to the scientific and academic approaches that African training centers and football academies have been putting into practice over the past decades. The result is a great quality of technical performance and physical competitiveness not only of national teams, but also the local clubs.
Here we present a classification of Africa’s best football clubs taking into consideration the number of titles won in the CAF Champions League.
Al Ahly SC – Egypt – 8 titles in the Champions League (1982, 1987, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2013)
The Egyptian club of AL AHLY CF, known as the African club of the twentieth century, is the most titled of the Arab and African teams, and the one that enjoys the greatest popularity with the Arab public. The Red Devils won 38 Egyptian championships, 8 African Champions Leagues, 1 CAF Confederation Cup and 4 African Cup Winners’ Cup titles. The club that was founded in 1907 plays at Cairo International Stadium, which also hosts the great rival Ezzamalek SC. The derby between the two big Cairo clubs is one of the most exciting and passionate in Africa and the Arab world. Several legendary Egyptian footballers played for the club including Abu Trika, Essam El-Hadary, Taher Abouzid, Houssam Hassan and others.
TP Mazembe – DR Congo – 5 Champions League titles (1967, 1968, 2009, 2010, 2015)
The Tout Puissant Mazembe is a Congolese football club based in Lubumbashi city. Founded in 1939, Mazembe is now one of the strongest teams in Africa after winning the Champions League 5 times in 1967, 1968, 2009, 2010, and 2015.
In its second consecutive participation in the clubs’ World Cup in 2010, TP Mazembe amazed the world of football by being the first African team to reach the final of the competition and play a historical match against the legendary Inter Milan.
Zamalek SC – Egypt – 5 Champions League titles (1984, 1986, 1993, 1996, 2002)
This is the other major club of the Egyptian capital. Founded by a European group in 1911 under the name of “Kasr-Ennil,” it changed several times before adopting its current name in 1952. It is the 11 times winner of the Egyptian championship and 5 times African champion. Several famous players represented the club and the national team of Egypt including Hassan Shehata, Hazem Emam, Nader El Sayed and more.
Hafia FC – Guinea – 3 Champions League titles (1972, 1975, 1977)
Hafia Football Club is a legendary Guinean team that dominated African football during the 1970s. Based in Conakry, Guinea, the club is one of the greatest African teams of all time. They won 16 local championships and 3 African Cup of Champions Leagues. Chérif Souleymane, Mohamed Saylla, Amara Bangoura and other famous footballers have played for Hafia Football club.
Raja CA Casablanca – Morocco – 3 Champions League titles (1989, 1997, 1999)
Founded in 1949, RAJA quickly moved up the ranks to be one of the strongest teams in Africa, with 11 national championships and 3 African Leagues of the Champions. It remains the first Arab and African club to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2000 in Brazil. The RAJA disputes the supremacy of Moroccan football with the other club of Casablanca city, the Widad Athletic Club. RAJA Casablanca, known as the Green Eagles, is the second African team to reach the final of the FIFA Club World Cup in 2013, and played an unforgettable match against FC Bayern Munich after beating Auckland City FC (New Zealand), CF Monterrey (Mexico) and Atlético Mineiro (Brazil). Some of the club’s legendary players are Salaheddine Bassir, Abdelmajid Dolmi, Reda Ereyahi, Mustapha El Haddaoui, Mohsine Moutouali and others.
Canon Yaoundé – Cameroon – 3 Champions League titles (1971, 1978, 1980)
The Canon Yaoundé club is a Cameroonian team created in 1930 to represent Yaoundé city, the capital of Cameroon. The club was a dominant force in the African continent during the 70s and 80s. They won 10 local championships, 12 local cups, 1 African Winners’ cup and 3 Champions League titles. The club‘s famous players include Thomas N’kono, Emmanuel Kundé, Théophile Abega and other players who not only shined at Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium, where the team hosts local and continental matches, but also while playing for the national team.
Asante Kotoko FC – Ghana – 2 Champions League titles (1970, 1983)
Asante Kotoko FC is a historical football club based in the region of Ashanti. The team is known by its Ghanaian football style that depends on physical and technical qualities of young players. The club has won the national championship for 22 occasions in addition to 2 African Champions League titles.
ES Tunis – Tunisia – 2 Champions League titles (1994, 2011)
Founded in 1919, the Esperance Sportive of Tunis is the legendary club of the capital. The team is the leader of the local competition with 25 championships, and winner of 2 CAF Champions titles and 6 times finalist of the most prestigious African competition. The club enjoys great popularity in the Arab world and is also known for the great fervor of its supporters who were the first to introduce the ultra movement in Africa and the Arab world.
Enyimba FC – Nigeria – 2 Champions League titles (2003, 2004)
The Enyimba International Football Club, known as the Aba Warriors, is a Nigerian team founded in 1976 and located in the city of Aba. Although the club is not among the oldest teams in Africa, it still remains the most successful team in Nigerian football. The club won the local championship 7 times and twice the African Cup of Champions. Some famous players who played for the club are: Mfon Udoh, Dele Aiyenugba, Romanus Orjinta and others.
JS Kabylie – Algeria – 2 Champions League titles (1981, 1990)
The Algerian club, JS Kabylie, is one of the leading clubs of Algeria and the African continent. The club with multiple national and continental titles was founded in 1946 in the Algerian city of Tizi Ouzou. The JSK remains one of the historical teams in African football by winning the CAF Champions League titles in 1981 and 1990. They also won the African Winners’ Cup in 1995, being the only Algerian club to win this competition.
ES Setif – Algeria – 2 Champions League titles (1988, 2014)
Founded in 1958, the Entente Sportive de Sétif, known also as ES Setif and ESS, is the second most successful club in Algerian football with 25 national, regional and international titles behind the JS Kabylie. The team that represents the city of Setif won the CAF Champions League in 1988 and 2014, as well as the Algerian championship on seven occasions and eight times the local cup.