COMPETITIONS
Introduction
05-07-2010
       
 

 
The competitions of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have evolved positively over the years from just one in 1957, following the creation of the organization, to ten. All the competitions serve as a qualifying tournament for their respective World Cups. CAF also plays a major role in the organization of other competitions not directly under its umbrella such as the All African Games, Olympic Games, regional, intercontinental and world championships. 

 
The popularity and success of CAF competitions, considering the continent’s financial state and challenges due to its geographical terrain in terms many factors including movement and infrastructures, can not be under estimated. This great stride is a result of the visionary and able leadership of the organization.
 
 
CAN (African Cup of Nations):
Arguably one of the oldest and as well as one of the most followed football tournaments in the world, the African Cup of Nations is held every two years and the number of teams participating in the final tournament has continually increased and reached 16 for the first time in 1998.
 
It was first organized in 1957 with the participating of 4 countries. They are Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and South Africa who were later disqualified due to apartheid.
 
In 1962, the road to the final was divided into stages: the qualifying tournament and the final tournament. The qualifying tournament is a knockout system played on home and away basis. The winners of the last stage of it qualify to play in the final tournament.
 
In 1992, a mix of knockout and round-robin system was introduced in the qualifying tournament.
 
In 1998, the number of participating teams in the final tournament was increased from 8 to 16. It has been 8 teams since 1968.
 
The 16 teams in the final tournament are divided into 4 groups of four teams. The top two in each group play in the quarter finals.   The four teams which emerge from the quarter finals compete in the semi finals before the final match to determine the champion.
 
CAF Champions League:
The CAF Champions League, formerly known as the African Champions’ Cup, was introduced in 1964 and it is contested for by league champions of member national associations.
 
CAF introduced the away goals rule in 1974 competitions and a Champions League format in 1997. 
 
In 2004, the competition was expanded by CAF allowing 12 of the participating countries to present two clubs, which are the first and second in their national leagues. The 12 countries are determined yearly according to a ranking system devised by CAF.
 
The first part of the competition which is divided into rounds is a knockout stage played on home and away basis. Winners of the last round of this part qualify to play in the second part, which is the group stage; while the losers compete in the last round of CAF Confederation Cup. 
 
The group stage is composed of 8 teams divided into 2 groups of 4 and playe against each other in a round-robin home and away system.  
 
The top two from each group qualify for the semifinals before the final where a winner emerges to win a trophy and prize money.
 
CAF Confederation Cup:
CAF Confederation Cup, a merger of CAF Winners’ Cup and CAF Cup, was introduced in 2004 and contested for by the national Cup winners of member national associations. Before the merger, CAF Winners’ Cup was introduced in 1975 and the CAF Cup in 1992.
 
CAF allows 12 of the participating countries to present two clubs, which are the National Cup winner and third in their respective national leagues. The 12 countries are determined yearly according to a ranking system devised by CAF.
 
The first part of the competition which is divided into rounds is a knockout stage played on home and away basis. Winners of the last round of this part play against the losers of CAF Champions League last round to determine the group stage teams.
 
The group stage is composed of 8 teams divided into 2 groups of 4 and played against each other in a round-robin home and away system.  
 
The top two from each group qualify for the semifinals before the final to win a trophy and prize money.
 
CAF Super Cup:
CAF Super Cup was introduced in 1992 and contested for by the winners of CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup. It is a one leg match played in the home group of the Champions League winner. CAF can also decide on a neutral ground for the Super Cup.
 
CHAN (African Nations Championship):
The African Nations Championship, also known as CHAN, is the newest in the calendar of CAF competitions and was introduced in 2009. The competition is held every odd year with a qualifying stage and a final tournament played by 8 teams. CAF expanded the competition by allowing 16 countries to compete in the final tournament from 2011.
 
CHAN is restricted to local players of member national associations.   All foreign-based players, within or outside the continent, are not entitled to participate.
 
CAN U-20 (African Youth Championship):
The African Youth Championship (AYC) is one of the age group competitions organized by CAF for players under the age of 20 as of the time of the current championship.
 
It was organized for the first time in 1997 as a qualifying competition for the World Youth Cup.
 
The first AYC, under the name Tessema Cup, was organized in 1979 and also a qualifier for the World Youth Championship.
 
Until 1989 it was contested for as a cup tournament by direct eliminations on home and away basis. In 1991, CAF introduced a qualifying stage and a final tournament played by 8 teams in a selected country.
 
CAN U-17 (African U-17 Championship)
The African U-17 Championship was mainly a qualifying competition for the U-17 World Cup, from 1985 to 1993.
 
In 1995, it became a biennial competition in CAF calendar with a qualifying stage and a final tournament played by 8 teams in a selected country.
 
Futsal (5-a-side)
An indoor five-aside football game, it has been a competitive game before the first African Futsal organized in 1996.
 
Futsal is organized by CAF every four years and also serves as a qualifying tournament for the Futsal World Cup.
 
All African Games:
The All African Games is organized every four years under the auspices of the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa.
 
 
AWC (African Women’s Championship)
The African Women’s Championship was introduced by CAF in 1991. Following the second and third editions played in 1995 and 1998 respectively, CAF made it a biennial championship held every even-numbered year. It also serves as a qualifying tournament for the Women’s World Cup.
 
The first two editions were decided on a home and away final. From the third edition in 1995, CAF introduced a qualifying tournament and a final tournament.
 
The final tournament is composed of 8 teams divided into 2 groups of 4. The top two in each group qualify for the semi finals before the final.
 
CAN U-20 Women:
CAF Women’s U-20 is the first female age group competition organized by the body for member national associations. It is for national team of women under the age of 20.
 
The first edition in 2002 was held as U-19 with an age limit of 19. From 2006, the age limit of the competition was raised to 20. It is also a qualifying tournament for the U-20 World Cup.
 
CAN U-17:
CAF Women’s U-17 is a biennial competition and was first organized in 2008. It is open to female players of member national associations under the age of 17. It is also a qualifying tournament for the Women U-17 World Cup.
 
All African Games: Women Soccer
The All African Games is organized every four years under the auspices of the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa.
 
 
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