FIFA president Gianni Infantino hopes the African Football League is here to stay and inspire the world.
After attending the competition's opening fixture in Tanzania in October, Infantino was Sunday (Nov. 12) at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria to see the Sundowns beat Wydad Athletic Club (WAC) 2-0 at home.
"This is what African football needs – the best playing together more often in a top, top, top professional environment. That's what we are doing with the African Football League. I’m very proud of this collaboration between FIFA and CAF. So, my thanks go to Patrice Motsepe and his entire team. .....
For this first edition, eight of the continent's most prestigious clubs competed in round-robin knockout matches, from the quarter-finals to the final to cash a cheque for four million dollars.
"I think the time has come for African club football to move to the next level, to retain some of the best players [so] that they don't have to go on and sign contracts abroad – they can stay here and they can play in a top level competition, which is not only Pan-African but which is also shown that it has an impact all over the world. So, this is here to stay, this is here to grow, this is here to have an impact, this is here to give hopes and dreams to the entire African population in Africa and to the world population around the world."
Over 50,000 people attended the second leg of the African Football League final which pitted South africa4s Mamelodi Sundowns against Morocco's WAC.
The African Confederation plans to extend the competition to 24 clubs for the next season.