Despite the continent’s various challenges, football is a beloved pastime and solace for its people. Many African football teams have proven their ability to compete against teams worldwide, making it difficult to rank the best African club football teams. Unfortunately, some clubs that initially made a name for themselves on the continental front have experienced a decline due to mismanagement or Football-related issues. Examples of such clubs include Nigeria’s Enyimba FC and Ghana’s Asante Kotoko SC or Hearts of Oak.
Football holds a special place in the hearts of African people, igniting their passion and bringing genuine happiness to the continent. However, maintaining the title of the top football team in Africa for a long time is challenging, as there is a constant battle for dominance among football nations. Each team strives to dethrone the champion and bring joy to their devoted fans.
“Home-based” African football stars showcase their talent and resilience in National club-level competitions and the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup tournaments on the continental stage, contributing significantly to the growth of the rising awareness of Africa’s football. Despite being considered a “minor tournament,” it holds immense value for Africans and attracts the attention of local supporters. Winning this competition is crucial in determining a team’s capabilities and influences their rankings in the continent.
This article aims to highlight the noteworthy clubs -in no specific other, that have made a mark in the continent’s football by constantly developing their presence and impact in recent times.
It is remarkable to witness the Egyptian Red Devils leading the pack in African Club football based on merit. Al Ahly, known for their exceptional performance on the field, has amassed an astonishing 33 million social media followers, making them the most followed club in Africa. The Cairo International Stadium, with a seating capacity of 75,000, proudly serves as the home ground for this great club.
Al Ahly boasts a rich history of countless achievements, with an impressive 115 trophies to their name. They are ranked second only to Real Madrid regarding officially recognised significant titles. Their incredible collection includes 42 Egyptian Premier Leagues and an astounding 23 continental titles, the highest number in history, including their recent win at the 10 CAF Champions League. In recognition of their outstanding contribution to football, Al Ahly was named the Club of the Century by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 2001. Moreover, this remarkable club has never been relegated in their history, a testament to their unwavering commitment to excellence.
Kaizer Chiefs, a football club that has captured the hearts of many in Southern Africa, is known for its impressive following of over 40 million fans. Affectionately referred to as “Amakhosi,” the club has garnered a significant presence in South Africa and neighbouring countries. Their widespread popularity is reflected in their social media following, boasting an impressive six million followers across various platforms. The club’s stadium is equally remarkable, with a seating capacity of 94,000 spectators. Kaizer Chiefs’ success on the field is undeniable, with an outstanding record of over 50 titles, including an impressive 12 league championships.
Zamalek, one of the most prominent football clubs in Egypt, is known to be Al Ahly’s biggest competitor. Both clubs play their home games at the Cairo International Stadium, a massive arena accommodating up to 75,000 spectators. With a rich history spanning over 111 years, the “White Knights” have achieved immense success, particularly during the 1990s. Zamalek is regarded as the second-most famous club in Egypt, with an impressive social media following of around 13 million fans spread across various platforms. Moreover, they have won the Egyptian Premier League 13 times and the CAF Champions League five times, making them a formidable force in African football.
The Orlando Stadium, located in the heart of Soweto, is a renowned sports venue with a seating capacity 37,139. It is the home stadium of Orlando Pirates, one of the most highly-supported football clubs in South Africa. The club has an impressive social media following of over 4 million fans, which is a testament to its unrivalled popularity and success.
Orlando Pirates has a rich history of success, having clinched 33 major trophies throughout their illustrious career. This includes an impressive nine league titles and a historic 1995 CAF Champions League win, which saw them become the first South African club to achieve this feat. They also are the only South African club to win back-to-back domestic trebles in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, cementing their status as one of the most formidable football clubs on the African continent.
Raja Club Athletic, a renowned football club based in Casablanca, Morocco, boasts a magnificent stadium accommodating up to 67,000 spectators. The club achieved an incredible milestone in 1997 when it recorded an impressive attendance of 110,000. Throughout the 1990s, Raja experienced a successful period in its history, clinching the Moroccan Botola League 12 times and the CAF Champions League three times. Notably 2013, Raja reached the final of the highly-coveted FIFA Club World Cup but unfortunately lost to European champions Bayern Munich.
Esperance, the oldest and most reputable club in Tunisia, has a remarkable history of over 103 years. Throughout their journey, they have established themselves as a prominent figure in African football, clinching an impressive 31 Tunisian league titles and four CAF Champions League victories. In the past decade, they have emerged victorious in 3 CAF Champions League tournaments, cementing their position as a dominant force in the sport. Unsurprisingly, they have garnered the most extensive fan base in Tunisia, which is a testament to their unwavering dedication and passion for the game.
Wydad Casablanca (Wydad Club)
Wydad Casablanca, also known as Wydad Athletic Club, is a highly respected football team that has become a significant contender for Raja Casablanca in the fiercely contested Casablanca Derby. With an impressive 21 victories in the Moroccan Botola League and two notable wins in the CAF Champions League, Wydad has undoubtedly earned a prestigious reputation in football. The club shares a massive 67,000-capacity stadium with Raja, always packed with enthusiastic fans. Wydad is proud to have a loyal fan base of over 3 million followers across various social media platforms. This is a testament to the club’s widespread popularity in Morocco, Africa, and the Arab world.
Tout Puissant Mazembe, or TP Mazembe, is a renowned football club in Congo with an exceptional track record of 38 major trophies. Out of these, they have won an incredible 19 league titles and 5 CAF Champions League titles. The club has earned a solid and loyal fanbase among the Congolese people and plays their home games in a stadium with a seating capacity of 18,500. TP Mazembe is undeniably the most successful football club in Congo and continues to inspire and captivate football enthusiasts worldwide.
Simba Football Club is undoubtedly one of Tanzania’s most prominent sports clubs and holds the title of the wealthiest in the entire East African region. The club has a remarkable record of winning the Tanzanian Premier League 22 times, a testament to its unwavering dedication and commitment to the sport. The Simba Football Club’s stadium in Dares Salam is an impressive arena that can accommodate up to 60,000 spectators, making it a prime location for hosting major sporting events.
In addition to its impressive achievements in the field, the Simba Football Club has made significant strides in the digital realm. The club has experienced unprecedented growth on Instagram in 2022, boasting an impressive 3 million followers. This astounding feat represents an 89% increase in followers compared to the previous year and is a testament to the club’s widespread popularity and appeal. The Simba Football Club’s continued success both on and off the field is a testament to its unwavering commitment to excellence and dedication to its fans.
The Mamelodi Sundowns, known as the “Brazilians” due to their jersey’s resemblance to Brazil’s national team, have their home games at the impressive Loftus Versfeld Stadium, which can accommodate up to 51,762 spectators. With an extensive following of approximately 2 million on social media, they are South Africa’s most valuable club and one of the wealthiest in Africa. This is mainly due to the ownership of business magnate Patrice Motsepe, also the current President of CAF and reportedly said to own the team recently. The group has claimed the South African Premier League title 11 times since its rebranding in 1996, and in 2016, they made history by becoming the second club in the country to win the CAF Champions League. Notably, in 2021, Mamelodi Sundowns’ female team made history by clinching the CAF Women’s Champions League, becoming the first-ever club to win both the men’s and women’s CAF Champions League titles.
Pyramids FC is a professional football club established in Assiut in 2008, known initially as Al Assiouty Sport. The club made history in 2014 when they earned promotion to the prestigious Egyptian Premier League through the promotion play-offs. In 2018, Pyramids FC underwent a significant transformation when it was acquired by the Chairman of the Saudi Sports Authority, Turki Al-Sheikh, who also led the team’s rebranding under its current name. However, on July 4, 2019, the club’s ownership was transferred to Emirati businessman Salem Al Shamsi. Today, Pyramids FC has become a force to be reckoned with in the Egyptian football scene and continues to attract a loyal following of fans within and beyond.
Club Africain is a highly esteemed Tunisian football club established on October 4, 1920. Over the years, the club has become a household name in Tunisia due to its impressive track record and numerous accomplishments. Club Africain made history in 1971 when it became the first Tunisian football club to win an international trophy by clinching the Maghreb Cup Winners Cup. Furthermore, the club has an impressive record of 13 Tunisian league titles and 13 Tunisian cups, a testament to its unwavering commitment to excellence and hard work. It is no wonder that Club Africain has carved a niche for itself in the Tunisian football scene and continues to inspire many fans.
The Mouloudia Club d’Alger is a professional football club from Algeria founded in 1921. They played home games in Algiers at the renowned Stade 5 Juillet 1962. This celebrated football team has garnered significant success in Algerian football, with an impressive tally of 7 domestic league championships and seven domestic cups. Furthermore, MC Alger has been a pioneering force in Algerian football, being the first team to win a continental competition, specifically the 1976 African Cup of Champions Clubs. Their sports achievements have earned them a distinguished reputation, making them one of Algeria’s most successful football teams.