Best known to the Colonial French as “Afrique du Nord” and referred to by Arabs as the Maghreb (“West”, The western part of Arab World), the northern part of Africa has continued to dominate club football on the continent.
To understand it better, even when you don’t scroll down in history, just look at the teams that qualified for the 2021/22 CAF Champions League group stage.
Having concluded the preliminary round on Sunday,it emerged that out of the 16 teams that advanced to the money bracket, only six hail from the other parts of the continent.
West Africa will be represented by only one team, the Guinean champions, Horoya AC.
Horoya sealed qualification into the group stage for the fifth consecutive time following their 2-1 win over Stade Malien on Sunday.
Sunday’s result sees the Guinean side record a 3-1 aggregate victory over their opponents having won 1-0 in the first encounter.
Elsewhere, Taddeo Lwanga’s Simba SC which was East Africa’s sole prospect was shockingly eliminated by Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana.
Galaxy stunned the Tanzanians with a 3-1 at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium to earn a debut appearance in the group stage of the competition despite losing the first-leg by two goals.
On top of Galaxy, Southern Africa will have four other ambassadors including former Uganda Cranes captain Dennis Onyango’s Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
Others are Petro Atlético and Sagrada Esperança (Angola) as well as AmaZulu (South Africa).
In the game between Ivory Coasts’s ASEC Mimosas and CR Belouizdad of Algeria, the former ‘bottled’ a 3-1 first-leg advantage as they shipped in two unanswered goals against the opposition.
Having managed a goalless draw away from home earlier, Esperance de Tunis booked their ticket to the next stage of the competition, defeating Stade Olympique de Rades with 1-0 scoreline.
In Morocco, Ghana’s Hearts of Oak were stunned by Wydad Athletic Club, conceding six goals and ending their quest to play in the Champions League for the first time since 2008.
The 16 qualified teams for the group stage are:
Al Ahly SC (Egypt), Zamalek SC (Egypt), Espérance Tunis (Tunisia), Etoile Sahel (Tunisia), Raja CA (Morocco), Wydad AC (Morocco), ES Sétif (Algeria), CR Belouizdad (Algeria), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), AmaZulu FC (South Africa), Petro Atlético (Angola), Sagrada Esperança (Angola), Al Merreikh (Sudan), Al Hilal SC (Sudan), Horoya AC (Guinea) and Jwaneng Galaxy (Botswana).
The 16 eliminated teams will now head into the second round of the prelims for the CAF Confederation Cup.