The Confederation of African Football (CAF) this week released the rankings of countries for the 2020/21 inter-club season, with Morocco ranked as the best-performing nation in continental club competitions over the last five years.
South Africa is ranked 6th after defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns landed the coveted Champions League title in 2016.
The ranking of countries is based on performances of their teams in the continental tournaments ahead of the new season. The top 12 countries in the latest rankings are eligible to present two teams each for the 2020-21 Champions League and Confederation Cup campaign.
Morocco lead the table as the best performing country with 180 points, followed by Egypt and Tunisia with 147 and 140 points, respectively. The Moroccan Royal Federation of Football (FRMF) believes concerted efforts through the leadership of president Fouzi Lekjaa, who was elected in 2014, are finally paying off.
In a historic feat, 4 Moroccan teams involved in the CAF Champions League and the Confederation Cup all progressed to the semi-finals early in March. Raja Casablanca and 2017 champions Wydad Athletic Club, who became the first Moroccan team to win the African title in 1999, are in the Champions League semi-final.
In the Confederation Cup, Sporting Renaissance of Berkane and Hassania of Agadir both progressed. In a statement, the FRMF said “there have been many positive factors, which combined together, made it possible for Moroccan clubs to raise the National’s flag up high in different competitions”. Lekjaa’s strategy since assuming office is aimed at providing all kinds of help and support to Moroccan clubs in their continental campaigns.
The support initiated by Lekjaa includes offering private jets, accommodation and food each time clubs have to travel for continental assignments. Lekjaa believes financial controls are also critical in the success of clubs.
“Financial support and control, are among the reasons why Moroccan football clubs have been improving their performances.
“For instance, more than USD$600 000 (R10 million) was allocated to each club in the first division on a yearly basis, from the television broadcasting rights revenues,” Lekjaa said.
DR Congo (4), Algeria (5), Zambia (7), Nigeria (8), Guinea (9), Angola (10), Sudan (11) and Libya (12) complete the club standings.
Points were awarded based on the stage of the tournament reached by the countries in the last five years. For the Champions League, 6 points were given to the winner, 5 points to runner-up, 4 points to semi-finalists, 3 points to quarter-finalists, 2 points for finishing third in a group and a point for fourth place in the group stage.
On the other hand, 5 points were given to winner of the Confederation Cup, 4 points to runner-up, 3 points to semi-finalists, 2 points to quarter-finalists, a point and 0.5 point for finishing third and fourth, respectively, in the group stage.
The points earned by a country in either of the tournaments was multiplied by the coefficient of each season to give the final standing.
The 2018-19 season has a coefficient of 5, 2018 is 4, 2017 is 3, 2016 is 2 and the 2015 campaign is given 1. The 2020-21 Caf interclub season will begin on October 21 with the registration window which will span almost four weeks. The preliminary round matches will be between November 20 and 22 while the second legs have been scheduled for the following week.
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By Mthokozisi Dube