What is Confederation of African Football (CAF)?

CAF is the principal organization for governing and controlling African football.

Confederation of African Football history and origin

Issa Hayatou, current President of Confederation of African FootballConfederation of African Football was founded in 1957 with the key role of representing the region and improving the quality of the sport. Currently, CAF has 56 member associations and the administrative offices are based in Egypt and it is one of the biggest of six continental confederations of FIFA.

In 1956, African delegates to the 30th FIFA Congress held in Lisbon, Portugal, agreed to form an African football confederation. After the Congress, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa and Sudan were committed to convene again in February 1957 in Khartoum to draft statutes and also to discuss staging the first Africa Cup of Nations. Abdallah Salem was named the first president of the Confederation after the signing of the Constitutional Act of CAF in Khartoum, Sudan, the same year.

In 1957 there were only three participating nations namely Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. Issues within South Africa had them barred from taking part in the first major regional tournament and eventually they were banished from the organization in 1958. The predicaments began after South Africa presented an all-white team leaving out other races. This was followed by suspension from FIFA in 1961 though Rous, the FIFA president at the time, later allowed the all-white team to represent the country.

Other associations joined CAF and took part in the African Cup of Nations in the following years, specifically in the 1960s. With more membership as well as greater efforts CAF has put in place to promote competitions in the continent, the governing body has become a respected organization in the world. CAF is currently under the presidency of Issa Hayatou of Cameroon.

Confederation of African Football formation

Confederation of African Football Official LogoAfrica earned recognition as a zonal group during the FIFA Congress in June 1954. The four stated national associations represented Africa at the FIFA congress. These nations were formerly the only representation Africa had in FIFA. On the other hand, many countries in Africa were struggling for independence mostly during the early years of CAF’s existence.

As a result of the recognition, Africans were to have their representative on the Executive Committee. Abdallah Salem of Egypt got elected to represent the region amidst strong opposition from countries like Argentina who were against the representation. Africa’s position was braced by the Great Britain and other Eastern countries with the favor of 24 votes versus 17 against. The next meeting in Lisbon saw the nations continue the plans to have a confederation in place.

CAF was tasked with running competitions in Africa. The men’s African Cup of Nations is the premier tournament though there are other international tournaments run by CAF including the Africa Nations Championship, the Under-17 and Under-21 competitions. There are equivalent tournaments for the women as well. At the club level, CAF runs the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup.

Confederation of African Football headquarters

CAF headquartes, located at 6th of October City, EgyptThe Confederation of African Football was founded in Khartoum, Sudan. The headquarters were situated in the city for a few months before the football organization suffered a setback in a fire outbreak that destroyed all its important documents.

The offices were then moved to Garden City, Cairo, then to 6th of October City, close to Cairo, in 2002.

Confederation of African Football membership

CAF was primarily made up of the four national associations a number that has augmented to 56. 54 of them are full members other than Zanzibar and Reunion Island as associates. CAF has further categorized its member nations into African regional federations namely; West African Football Union (WAFU-UFOA), Union of North African Football Federations (UNAF), Central African Football Federations’ Union (UNIFFAC), Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) and the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA).

Confederation of African Football significant events

Mohamed Diab Al-Attar also known as Ad-Diba, is a former footballer who played for the Egypt national football teamHaving South Africa eliminated in the 1957 tournament meant only three nations were to take part in the first major international competition in the region. But after decades of apartheid, South Africa got the honor to host the 20th ACN tournament in 1996, marking the start of their resurgence in international football.

In that first final match in 1957 African Cup of Nations, it was a battle between Egypt, who had defeated Sudan in the semi finals and Ethiopia, the team that was pushed to the final. Egypt thrashed Ethiopia 4-0 to emerge the first regional champions with all goals coming from Mohamed Diab Al-Attar.

The number of teams joining CAF increased greatly in the 60s leaving the organization with one viable option, to introduce the qualifying rounds so as to accommodate the interested states especially for the African Cup of Nations. The participants grew from three, to four, six, eight, twelve and now stands at 16 teams.

CAF World Cup participation significant years

1934 :  Egypt, first African team to qualify for the World Cup
1970 :  Morocco, first African team to drew a match in the World Cup
1978 :  Tunisia, first African team to win a match in the World Cup
1986 :  Algeria, first African team to qualify consecutively for two times
1986 :  Morocco, first African team to reach the knockout stage
1990 :  Cameroon, first African team to reach the quarter-final
2010 :  South Africa, first African team to host the World Cup
2014 :  Algeria &  Nigeria, firsts two African teams to reach the knockout stage simultaneously in the World Cup

It is crucial to note that the progress in football can be attributed to efforts that saw emergence of junior tournaments under FIFA allowing nations to nurture the young talent. In addition, more foreign coaches are finding their way to the region which is a major boost in developing football in Africa.

Check out the list of CAF Champions League winners.

CAF top footballers of the century

Player NameCountryPoints
George Weah Liberia 95
Roger Milla Cameroon 77
Abédi Pelé Ghana 72
Lakhdar Belloumi Algeria 56
Rabah Madjer Algeria 51
Théophile Abega Cameroon 39
Laurent Pokou Ivory Coast 38
Kalusha Bwalya Zambia 37
Ahmed Faras Morocco 35
Finidi George Nigeria 32


CAF Best Goalkeeper of the century

Player NameCountryPoints
Joseph-Antoine Bell Cameroon 39
Thomas Nkono Cameroon 30
Sadok Sassi "Attouga" Tunisia 26
Badou Zaki Morocco 24
Mwamba Kazadi Democratic Republic of Congo 19
Jacques Songo'o Cameroon 13
Bruce Grobbelaar Zimbabwe 11
Ahmed Shobair Egypt 10
Alain Gouaméné Ivory Coast 9
Peter Rufai Nigeria 6