South Africa's Sundowns FC Beats Morocco's Wydad AC, Winning Inaugural African Football League Cup
16:46 12.11.2023 (Updated: 16:05 19.11.2023)
The 2023 African Football League (AFL) is serving as a precursor to a full-fledged AFL competition the following season, featuring 22 of Africa's elite clubs. FIFA and CAF said that the AFL will raise the standard of African club football, making it more compelling and appealing to a wider audience.
In a thrilling showdown at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Mamelodi Sundowns emerged triumphant in the second leg of the inaugural African Football League (AFL) final, defeating Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca with a commanding 2-0 victory.
This relentless performance secured a 3-2 aggregate win for the South African club, overturning the 2-1 deficit from the first leg.
Sundowns' striker Peter Shalulile broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time, delivering a crucial goal that electrified the home crowd. Subsequently, Aubrey Modiba extended the lead with a stunning strike in the 53rd minute, cementing Mamelodi Sundowns' dominance in the match and clinching the prestigious title.
Analyzing the historic clash between Mamelodi Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca, several intriguing statistics illustrate the ferocity of the encounter. Notably, Sundowns' victory marks only their second win in the last seven meetings against Wydad Casablanca, highlighting their persistence despite significant challenges.
Additionally, Mamelodi Sundowns' formidable track record
in home matches against Wydad, remaining unbeaten and exhibiting sustained defensive prowess, underscores their extraordinary performance.
Furthermore, their resilience at home, remaining undefeated in 24 consecutive matches across all competitions, showcases their formidable form, with seven clean sheets garnered in their most recent home encounters.
The AFL, envisioned as a top-flight club tournament
in collaboration between FIFA and CAF, aims to address historical weaknesses in African club football while amplifying its global prominence. The inaugural edition showcased eight teams from diverse African confederations, with the championship offering a substantial $4 million prize to the triumphant side.
The event also serves as a financial cornerstone, as forecasted revenues of $100 million position the AFL among the world's premier leagues. These financial gains are earmarked for essential stadium development, infrastructure enhancements, and the promotion of African football on a broader scale.
Noteworthy is the 2023 AFL's role as a precursor to an upcoming full AFL competition in the following season, set to encompass 22 of Africa's elite clubs. FIFA and CAF assert that the AFL will elevate the caliber of African club football, rendering it more captivating and appealing to diverse audiences.