June 18, 2024

PARIS, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The African Soccer League, a brand new continental tremendous league competitors involving eight groups, kicked off to a capability 60,000-strong crowd in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on Friday with house facet Simba drawing 2-2 with Africa’s most profitable group Al Ahly of Egypt.

The 2 groups have been taking part in a quarter-final first leg and can meet once more in Cairo on Tuesday within the return fixture.

The eight-team competitors bares little resemblance to the preliminary idea which FIFA president Gianni Infantino recommended to the Confederation of African Soccer’s member nations at their 2020 congress.

Infantino, who attended Friday’s match within the Tanzanian capital on the head of a heavyweight FIFA delegation, stated then {that a} 24-team match would have $200 million in prize cash and preserve prime expertise in Africa with potential to show the continent into a frontrunner on this planet recreation.

However virtually 4 years after first elevating the concept, the league started as a knockout competitors, which will probably be accomplished in 17 days and with every group assured $1 million for collaborating with $4 million going to the winner, the identical because the prize cash for the African Champions League.

Africa endured with the idea of a continental tremendous league after related plans in Europe have been doomed when golf equipment pulled out within the wake of widespread opposition.

Solely a single sponsor has been signed for the African Soccer League, with a take care of Go to Saudi, the tourism authority of Saudi Arabia, introduced final week.

When requested the place the cash for the brand new competitors got here from, CAF president Patrice Motsepe informed reporters at a press convention forward of the match: “We pray very exhausting. It comes from heaven.”

CAF had beforehand stated the eight-team format is a precursor to a much bigger competitors subsequent 12 months.

The opposite six golf equipment on this 12 months’s occasion will play their first matches this weekend and the combination winners advance to the semi-finals.

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