DAR ES SALAAM: IN just few hours, Africa’s most eagerly anticipated competition: the African Football League (“AFL”) will kick-off in Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania on Friday at 06:00 pm (East African Time).
The AFL is a titanic battle of strength versus strength between the giants of African football – and it doesn’t come much bigger than the reigning African champions and football royalty, Al Ahly SC, heading to Tanzania’s capital to face Simba SC and their fanatical fans in the tournament opener.
Eight of Africa’s most famous and iconic clubs will compete for the grand prize of $4 million which goes to the winners of the inaugural AFL tournament, raising the stakes considerably in a tournament that brings an exciting new African football product to the world football calendar.
The opening match on Friday between Simba and Al Ahly kicks off at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on Friday 20 October in an atmosphere that is sure to be a red-hot cauldron and full house, as Simba go up against the 11-time African champions from Cairo.
Weekend African Football League (“AFL”) fixtures:
On Saturday, 16-time Angolan champions Atlético Petróleos de Luanda hosts South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, the winners of the last six South African domestic league titles in a row, at Luanda’s Estadio 11 de Novembro.
On Sunday, Democratic Republic of Congo champions TP Mazembe will host Tunisian giants Esperance Tunisienne, also at Dar es Salaam’s Benjamin Mkapa Stadium at 09:00 pm (East African Time).
In the last of the tournament’s mouthwatering opening weekend games, Nigerian powerhouses Enyimba FC host legendary Moroccan champions Wydad Athletic Club at Uyo’s Goodwill Akpabo Stadium on Sunday in a match also kicking off on Sunday 22 October.
The eight teams will play in a knockout format consisting of a quarter final, semifinal and final. Each tie will be played over two-legs, on a home and away basis, with the semi-finals set to take place between 29 October and 1 November.
AFL Prize Money:
The winners of the inaugural African Football League will receive a prize money of US 4 dollars million. The runner-up will get US 2.8 dollars million. The two semi-finalists will each get US 1.7 dollars million. The quarter-finalists will each win 900,000 dollars.
While the eight protagonists will compete for record prize money in the first edition of the AFL, in time the objective of the tournament is to be Africa’s most exciting competition, providing a new dimension in terms of entertainment, television production and the fan experience – which will complement CAF’s strong existing interclub competitions.