Football is the most popular sport in Africa, with the people very passionate about the round leather game. Club football in Africa lags behind when compared with the rest of the world due to lack of adequate publicity, funding, facilities, corruption and insecurity.
Most African footballers prefer playing outside the continent, thus, depriving African clubs the chance of fielding the best players. Notwithstanding, some clubs still enjoy huge followers domestically, regionally, continentally and globally.
Due to inadequate databases, the fact that most fans support elite European clubs and only follow their African teams in important matches like the CAF Champions League, it is difficult to list out the most supported clubs in Africa.
In this list, TOP SOCCER BLOG looks at clubs’ online followership (especially on social media), stadium capacity/attendance and history to bring you the top 10 most supported African football clubs.
1. AL AHLY
Who else would top the list apart from the Red Devils? Al Ahly have around 33 million followers across social media platforms, making it Africa’s most-followed club.
The club plays at the 75,000 capacity Cairo International Stadium.
Al Ahly have won more than 115 trophies in their history, only behind Real Madrid in football history when it comes to officially recognised major titles.
The trophy haul includes 42 Egyptian Premier Leagues, 23 continental titles (including 10 CAF Champions leagues, the most in history).
Al Ahly was named as the Club of the Century by CAF in 2001 and have never been relegated in their history.
2. KAIZER CHIEFS
Nicknamed the “Amakhosi”, Kaizer Chiefs are the most supported club in Southern Africa with most of their fans in South Africa and the neighbouring counties.
Chiefs boast of more than 40 million fans (with 6 million followers on social media), making them the most supported club in sub-Saharan Africa. Their stadium has a 94,000 capacity.
The club have won more than 50 trophies, which included 12 league titles.
3. ZAMALEK FC
Zamalek are Al Ahly’s fiercest rivals. Both clubs play their home matches at the Cairo International Stadium which has 75,000 capacity.
Zamalek are the second most supported club in Egypt. The club have around 13 million followers on social media platforms.
They have won the Egyptian Premier League 13 times and CAF Champions League 5 times.
Nicknamed the “White Knights”, the club was founded 111 years ago and enjoyed its most successful era in the 1990s.
4. RAJA CASABLANCA
Officially named Raja Club Athletic but popularly known as Raja Casablanca, the club’s stadium has a 67,000 capacity. It recorded 110,000 attendance in 1997.
Raja have 7 million followers across social media platforms and is one of the world’s best Ultras among its supporters.
The club enjoyed a memorable era of success in the 1990s and have won the Moroccan Botola League 12 times and CAF Champions League three times.
Raja reached the final of the FIFA Club World Cup in 2013, losing to European champions, Bayern Munich.
5. ESPERANCE SC
Tunisia’s most successful and oldest club side, was founded 103 years ago.
Esperance have won the Tunisian league a record 31 times and have won the CAF Champions League four times.
The Blood and Gold won 3 CAF Champions League trophies in the last 10 years. They are the most supported club in Tunisia.
6. WYDAD CASABLANCA
Officially named Wydad Athletic Club, Wydad Casablanca are the fiercest rivals of Raja Casablanca, with both competing in the very intense Casablanca Derby.
Wydad have won the Moroccan Botola League a record 21 times and the CAF Champions League twice. They play at a 67,000 capacity stadium, sharing it with Raja.
Wydad are one of the most support clubs in Morocco, Africa and the Arab world, boasting more than 3 million followers across various social media platforms.
7. TP MAZEMBE
Tout Puissant Mazembe, popularly called TP Mazembe are the most successful football club in Congo. They have won 38 major trophies, which includes 19 league titles and 5 CAF Champions League titles.
The Ravens are supported by most Congolese people. Their home stadium has a 18,500 capacity.
8. ORLANDO PIRATES
Orlando Pirates play at the 37,139 capacity Orlando Stadium. They are one of the most supported clubs in South Africa, boasting more than 4 million followers on social media.
Pirates have won more than 33 trophies, which included nine league titles. They won the CAF Champions League in 1995, becoming the first-ever South African club to do so.
Orlando Pirates are the only South African club in history to have won the domestic treble back-to-back, doing so in the 2010/11 and the 2011/12 seasons.
9. SIMBA FC
The richest club in East Africa and one of the two biggest clubs in Tanzania. Simba have won the Tanzanian Premier League 22 times.
They play at a 60,000 capacity stadium in Dares Salam.
Simba are currently the fastest-growing football club in the world on Instagram in 2022, boasting 3 million followers, an incredible 89% increase from last year.
10. MAMELODI SUNDOWNS
Nicknamed the “Brazilians” due to the similarity of their jersey with that of the Brazilian national team, Sundowns play at the 51,762 capacity Loftus Versfeld Stadium. The club has around 2 million followers on social media.
They are the most valuable South African club and one of the wealthiest in Africa due to the fact that they are owned by business magnate, Patrice Motsepe.
Motsepe is the richest man in South Africa and the current President of CAF.
Mamelodi have won the South African Premier League 11 times, the most since it was rebranded in 1996. In 2016, they became just the second club from the country to ever win the CAF Champions League.
In 2021, Mamelodi Sundowns made history when their female team won the CAF Women’s Champions League, becoming the first-ever club to win both the men and women CAF Champions league titles.