West Africa club decline reflected in CAF draws
Meanwhile,The declining power of west African football clubs will be reflected in the CAF Champions League group draw in Cairo on Wednesday, where none have qualified.
The failure is all the more alarming as the number of qualifiers has doubled this year from eight to 16 in a new format.
West Africa is home to five of the top 10 ranked African national teams — Senegal, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast — and clubs from the west have won 26 CAF titles, making them the second most successful region after the north (75).
But the last west African club to lift a continental trophy was Enyimba of Nigeria in 2005 after beating Ghana’s Hearts of Oak in the Super Cup.
The situation is marginally better for the west in the secondary CAF Confederation Cup draw with Rivers United of Nigeria and Horoya of Guinea among the qualifiers.
Of the 32 clubs in the two Cairo draws, 12 come from the north, nine from the south, five from the east, four from the centre and two from the west.Respected Ivory Coast football analyst Elie Kambire says a number of factors have contributed to the decline of west African club football.
“There is a lack of financial means, quality training facilities and professional organisation,” he told AFP in Abidjan.“Other reasons for the decline include low-quality national championships and a massive exodus of young talent to Europe.
“A lack of financial support from the public authorities has also contributed to the decay.“Abidjan club ASEC Mimosas are an exception, but they have been affected by a decade of political and military crises in the country.“West African club football is battling to keep pace, particularly with Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa and TP Mazembe in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Report by Miyen Akiri