Next week, the maiden edition of the African Football League gets to the semi-final stage as Ahly of Egypt face Mamelodi Sundown of South Africa while Tunisia’s Espérance Sportive de Tunis will face Wydad Athletic Club of Casablanca, Morocco.

The four clubs are $700,000 richer apart from the $1 million each accrued  for featuring in the quarter-finals of the competition.

The four clubs  have something in common. They are financially solvent. Mamelodi Sundown is owned by Dr. Patrice Motsepe, the CAF President. He is reputed as the third richest man in Africa.

Undoubtedly, his wealth as well as business acumen will rub off on the club which female outfit is also making waves in the continent and featuring in the CAF Women’s Champions League.

Apart from the $1,700,000 each of the four clubs will get for getting to the semi-finals, three of them have already benefited  from  the FIFA Club Benefits Programme (CBP) for having players at the last World Cup in Qatar.

No Nigerian club had that benefit as  none had players in the World Cup. Even if Nigeria had qualified, it is doubtful if any Nigerian club will benefit as no home boy was likely to make the team. There is an apparent rule that the all the national team players must be sourced from abroad, giving all the benefits of the FIFA Club Benefits Programme to already financially solvent foreign clubs.

This is where the trio of Wydad Athletic Club of Casablanca, Al Ahly of Egypt and Tunisia’s Esperance made huge money, at least by African standard.

From the FIFA Club Benefits Programme, Wydad, which topped the chart in Africa got $1,405, 305.81. Months down the line, it has grossed $1.7 million from the African Football league.  If it crossed the semi-final hurdle, Wydad will get $4 million for the title or $3 million as runners-up.

As for Ahly, the club got $650,638.34 for their players at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, even though, Egypt did not qualify.

Like Wydad, the popular Egyptian club is in line for either $4 million or $3million to further boost the financial status of the club. Both Ahly and Wydad will also have a share in the expanded 24-team FIFA Club World Cup holding in the US in 2025. More money in view!

Espérance is in the same class like Wydad and Ahly. From the FIFA Club Benefit Programme, Espérance got $197,104.83.
The four clubs are also still in contention for the CAF Champions League title where the winner this season will get an enhanced prize of $4 million. Imagine the winner of the African Football League emerging as CAF Champions League winner – that is a mind-blowing $8 million in one season.

If the club happens to be Wydad which already had $1.4million from World Cup, the solvency of the club is left for imagination.

One thing works well for the quartet remaining in the African Football League.

They are run as business outfit unlike the Nigerian clubs, with no structure and are largely ‘charity’ arms of various state governments as they depend mainly on hand-outs.

Their survival depends on how much interest a state government has and the popularity the government stand to gain from the public. No truly professional sports outfit exist.

The $1 million that Enyimba have accrued from their misadventure at the African Football League translates to N756 million. Add the N100 million jackpot of the Super 6 NPL Play-off to it, the club’s take home in the past four months is almost N1billion. It is doubtful if that amount will be spent to advance the club.

It may be an Herculean task, accounting for the money. With such financial armoury, it is expected that Enyimba should be able to get some of the best legs in the continent.

Alternatively, the club could get a functional club physical structure. An example can be gleaned from Raja Casablanca of Morocco.

For their performance, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the sports inclined ruler of Morocco opted to reward the club with structures instead of pecuniary which is the norm in the continent.

A football academy located on a 7.5 hectares of land in  the district of Ain Jemâa, in Bouskoura area of Casablanca is the remarkable gift to Raja Casablanca. The benefits are for ever.

A visit to the site was mind blowing. No club will own such facility and not be encouraged to scale greater heights.

Raja club holds their training session on the natural grass pitch of the Academy. One of such training session was held on Thursday the eve of their 5-0 defeat of Vipers of Uganda in the CAF Champions League.

According to Marouan, the Secretary General of the academy, the club comes there to train at the facility, which has a standard  natural grass training pitch as well as another one that is hybrid synthetic.

Two others were under construction at the time of the visit. In addition are four other training pitches, all lush green.

Marouan explained that the academy which was opened on 22 September 2022. currently have about 30 students, although the capacity is high. The apartments housing the academy players have 45 rooms and each has two beds for the young players.

On a typical day at the academy, the students are expected to be up from bed by 7: 00am and be ready for breakfast 30 minutes later.

By 8am, they should be leaving for school where they are expected to have breakfast from 8 to 8.30 am and launch at 1pm.

They will have snacks at 5pm and dinner at 8.00 pm. By 10.30pm, they are expected in their rooms.

Expectedly, the academy is equipped with well staffed clinic and equipment that ensure the good health of the inhabitants.

“We have four buildings (A, B, C and D). Building A is reserved for first-team players”, Marouan explained.

The Raja Casablanca team have two workouts a day. “It allows them to rest during the day and avoid returning to Casablanca and coming back again.

“Buildings B, C and D are dedicated to young people: cadets, juniors and hopefuls. We have 10 single rooms for the technical and medical staff,” he explained.

One of the large rooms of the complex have a trophy shelf where diplomas and trophies won by Raja Casablanca are displayed.

Indeed, the Raja Club Athletic Academy is a model in Africa.

The post The rich clubs get richer as African Football League gets to semi-finals appeared first on Sports Village Square.

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here