August 2, 2019 — Washington, DC
As we gear up for the start of another season across the top leagues in Europe, we will see and hear the names Liverpool FC, Real Madrid, Barcelona for the next nine months. But during that same period, how often will we hear the club names Etoile du Congo, Esperance de Tunis, or Al Hilal Omdurman? Not too many because African leagues aren’t broadcast on national television here in the U.S.? So lets take a look at the top 10 football clubs in Africa.
Football is the continent’s #1 sport. It has produced some of the best footballers in the world the likes of Didier Drogba, Jay Jay Okocha, Michael Essien, Yaya Toure and many more. All of these footballers plyed their trade abroad for the biggest football leagues in the world. Yesterday, Nicolas Pepe, the Ivory Coast superstar forward, transferred from Lille OSC of French League 1 to Arsenal FC in the Premier League. So that begs the questions, what if these former and current stars played in Africa, how would the leagues in the continent fair? Which are Africa’s equivalent to Liverpool FC, Barcelona, and Real Madrid? Here is a list of the top 10 football clubs in Africa.
#1 – Etoile du Congo – Congo Democratic Republic
Etoile du Congo is the most successful team in the Congo Premier League with 12 Championship titles. L’Étoile du Congo started as a team in the Fédération Athlétique Congolaise (FAC), a league run by Catholic missionaries in the Belgian Congo. The church provided clothes and shoes and the team was required to attend mass. The team, known at the time as Renaissance, won the Brazzaville city championship each year from 1945 to 1950 led by team-captain Dominique Sombo. They played at Eboué stadium, which was owned by the mission.
#2 – Al Merrikh – Sudan
Al Merrikh is an Omdurman based Sudanese football club who play at Al-Merrikh Stadium – locally popular as the Red Castle. The club is one of the oldest on the continent of Africa and has won the Sudan Premier League over 20 times. Al Merrikh was founded in 1908 and was the first club to win the Sudan football championship in 1934.
#3 – Esperance de Tunis – Tunisia
Esperance de Tunis is a Tunis based Tunisian football club. It was founded in January 1919. They play at the Stade Olimpique d’El Menzah. Esperance have won the Tunisiam League 28 times, the Tunisian Cup 14 times, and the Tunisian Super cup twice. They have also won two CAF Champions Leagues, two Arab Club Championship cups, and an Arab Super Cup.
#4 – Raja Casablanca – Morocco
Raja is an Arabic word for “hopefullness.” Raja was founded in 1949 and is currently the most well-known club outside of Morocco. In 2000, it was ranked third by CAF’s top clubs of the past decade. Raja has won the Moroccan domestic title 10 times. They were the first African Club to participate in the FIFA World Club Championships in 2000 in Brazil.
#5 – Al Hilal Omdurman – Sudan
This is another Sudanese football club founded in 1930. They have won the Sudan Premier League seven times in the last 9 season along and have been crowned champions of the competition 27 times in total.
#6 – AS Vita Club – Congo Democratic Republic
Based in Kinshasa, AS Vita was founded in 1935 and have since gone on to win the Linafoot 12 times ad the Coupe du Congo nine times. They’ve also won the Challenge Papa Kalala twice and were crowned Champions Clubs in 1973.
#7 – Kaizer Chiefs – South Africa
They are the “Amakhosi”, “Chiefs”, or “Lords” of South Africa. The Kaizer Chiefs play at Soccer City in Soweto also known as FNB stadium. They’ve won the Premier Soccer League three times, the National Soccer League three times, and were once the African Cup winners.
#8 – Al Ahly – Egypt
El Ahly means “The National”. Founded in 1907, the club has amassed over 140 official trophies both internationally and domestically. The number of trophies that they have won since their founding makes them more successful than the likes of AC Milan and Boca Juniors.
#9 – Dynamos – Zimbabwe
Dynamos Football Club was formed in 1963 after Harare Township and Rhodesia merged. Since then they have won over 20 Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League titles and the Cup of Zimbabwe over a dozen times.
#10 – El Zamalek – Egypt
El Zamalek in an Egyptian football club based in Giza. They have won over 30 Egyptian Cups, over 15 League titles, 7 CAF Champions League titles, and 5 CAF Super Cups as well as an African Cup Winners trophy.