Tuesday, February 26, 2008

African Club Football - Part One

Honestly, I know less about African club football than any other region of the world, which made me want to research and find out more about the domestic leagues throughout Africa.

In this series, I plan on covering around 20 of the top domestic leagues in Africa. I'll include the top clubs from each country and their achievements as well as a list of players from recent years that have spent time in their domestic leagues before moving abroad.

There are a large amount of top players from Africa who never played in their own domestic leagues, with many choosing to start their careers in France, Portugal, Germany, etc. For the sake of these posts, I'll leave them out of the discussion.

If there are any African club football fans who want to add information about their favorite leagues or clubs, feel free to have your say in the comments.

Algerian Championnat

Year founded: 1962

Top Club - JS Kabylie

JS Kabylie, known as "The Canaries" are the 13 time champion of the Algerian Championnat and one of the wealthiest clubs in Africa. The club have also won the African Champions League 2 times.

Players that got their start in the Algerian League
Yacine Bezzaz - FC Valenciennes
Abderraouf Zarabi - Hibernian FC
Rafik Saifi - FC Lorient
Noureddine Deham - FC Kaiserslautern

Many of the top players who make up Algeria's national side were born in and play club football in France. Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri, and Zinedine Zidane are some of the famous players of Algerian descent who instead chose to play for France.

Angolan League

Year founded: 1980

Top Club - Petro Atlético

Petro Atlético Luanda have won the Angolan league 13 times and the Angolan Cup 8 times. No Angolan team has won the African Champions League to this point.

Players that got their start in the Angolan League:
Luis Delgado - FC Metz
Mendonça - Os Belenenses
Zé Kalanga - Boavista
Flávio - Al-Ahly
Manucho Goncalves - Manchester United (loaned to Panathinaikos)

Interestingly, 2006 Angolan captain, Akwá, got his start in Portugal at Benfica in 1994 and in 2007 moved to Petro Atlético to play in his home league for the first time.

Cameroon Premiere Division

Year Founded: 1959

Top Club - Canon Yaoundé

Canon Yaoundé have won the Cameroon Premier Division title 9 times and the Cameroon Cup 11 times. They have also won the African Champions League 3 times.

Players that got their start in the Cameroon League:
Rigobert Song - Galatasaray
Timothée Atouba - Hamburg SV
Geremi - Newcastle United
Jean Makoun - Lille
Alain Nkong - Atlante (Mexico)
Pierre Ebede - FC Metz
Pierre Wome - Werder Bremen

Next up: Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, and Ghana

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