The inaugural season of the Super League is scheduled to begin in August 2023, run through May 2024, and end with a “Super Bowl-like” championship game.
Teams that win the CAF Champions League, the current year’s premier event, get $2.5 million (2.4 million euros). The Super League champions will receive an additional $11.5 million.
Here, we will explain what is known and what is unknown about the Super League, a tournament that is expected to significantly improve football in Africa.
Each team will face the other seven teams both at home and away in the Super League’s initial three eight-club regional groups, which are divided into the north, west center, and south east. The best sixth-placed team together with the top five teams in each area qualify to the knockout round, which consists of a round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals over two legs, and a championship match.
Rankings based on outcomes in CAF tournaments during a yet-to-be-announced time span will determine qualifiers. The premiere edition would purportedly include clubs from 16 different nations, with no more than three clubs from any one country. Moroccan clubs Raja and Wydad as well as Renaissance Berkane may be available in Casablanca.
It has been decided against sticking with the initial intention of having 20 permanent Super League members and a few more clubs qualifying. Instead, the composition will be decided by promotion-relegation play-offs from the conclusion of the inaugural edition.
Each qualifier would receive $3.5 million upfront, according to CAF President Patrice Motsepe, to cover travel and lodging expenses and to bolster teams. The Champions League contenders’ finances are significantly depleted by travel expenses, and only the 16 clubs who advance to the group stage get prize money, which starts at $550,000.
All 197 group and knockout games will utilise VAR, which CAF expects will significantly lower the amount of complaints about unfair refereeing.
Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, has suggested assembling an elite panel of full-time African referees who would be paid by the international organization, with subpar performances resulting in promotion.
African football fans are particularly concerned with who will be chosen, and Raja, Wydad, Berkane, Al Ahly, and Zamalek from Egypt as well as Esperance Tunis look certainties.
According to recent CAF results, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates of South Africa, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Horoya of Guinea are also expected to be included.
Kaizer Chiefs, a South African team, made it to the 2021 Champions League final, but beyond from that, they haven’t left much of a mark in Africa, frequently exiting early after fielding under-strength squads.
But Chiefs are one of the most well-known football brands in Africa, they are operated professionally, and they have top-notch facilities. But will their ranking be high enough to guarantee their inclusion?
The Nigerian national team is one of the best in Africa, but local clubs have consistently performed badly in CAF events, with only Enyimba standing out.
Enyimba, headquartered in the city of Aba in the southeast, could succeed, although they are most likely the only team from the continent’s most populous nation to participate in the first Super League.
The Super League is frantically trying to gain a global TV audience, but CAF is up against a barrage of European club and national team coverage.
Super League games are ideal on Mondays and Fridays since they are the least crowded days for TV viewing, but no preparations have been made about match days.
The second-tier Confederation Cup and Champions League tournaments will still exist, according to CAF, maybe as knockout events without the present group rounds.
Officials in charge of domestic championships and tournaments must be concerned about fixture congestion when the Super League is added in, where the winners will play in 21 matches.