CAF Champions League: PSL clubs who ruled African football

CAF Champions League: PSL clubs who ruled African football
Credit: Icon Sport

Established in 1964 as the African Cup of Champions Clubs and later rebranded in 1997 as the CAF Champions League, the first team to lift the trophy was Cameroonian team Oryx Douala who beat Stade Malien of Mali 2-1 in a one-off final.

It is worth knowing that South African football clubs started participating in CAF Competitions in 1993 and since then, two teams from the 2010 World Cup host country have reigned supreme in Africa's apex club football competition.

The Premier Soccer League clubs that conquered Africa in the CAF Champions League are the two domestic heavyweights: Orlando Pirates, and Mamelodi Sundowns.

Orlando Pirates – Champions of Africa in 1995

Former CAF Champions League winners, Orlando Pirates
Credit: Icon Sport

Orlando Pirates is one of South Africa's oldest football clubs having been established in 1937 in Orlando East, Soweto.

The African continent and other parts of the football world began to take the club seriously when they won the African Champions Cup (now known as the Champions League) in 1995 and the African Super Cup a year later.

This achievement resulted in the club being honoured by the first State President of the new democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

Orlando Pirates African Cup of Champions Clubs journey in 1995

First round

  • Eleven Men in Flight 0-5 Orlando Pirates (aggregate score)

Second round

  • BCC Lions 1-2 Orlando Pirates (aggregate score)


  • Mbilinga FC 2-4 Orlando Pirates (aggregate score)


  • Orlando Pirates 2-1 Express FC (aggregate score)


  • Orlando Pirates 3-2 ASEC Mimosas (aggregate score)

Orlando Pirates records in the CAF Champions League

1995: Champions
1996: Quarter final
1997: Group stage
2002: Second round
2004: Second round
2006: Semi final
2010: Preliminary round
2012: Preliminary round
2013: Finalist
2018/19: Group stage
2019/20: Preliminary round

Mamelodi Sundowns – Champions of Africa in 2016

Former CAF Champions League winners, Mamelodi Sundowns
Credit: Icon Sport

It took 21 years before another Premier Soccer League team triumphed in the CAF Champions League. Mamelodi Sundowns conquered Africa in 2016 to bring two teams from South Africa in the records of the past winners of the CAF Champions League.

Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Zamalek in the final to win their first CAF Champions League title, and qualified as the CAF representative at the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, their first appearance in the FIFA Club World Cup.

They also earned the right to play against the winners of the 2016 CAF Confederation Cup in the 2017 CAF Super Cup.

Mamelodi Sundowns CAF Champions League journey in 2016

Preliminary round

  • Chicken Inn 1-2 Mamelodi Sundowns (aggregate score)

First round

  • Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 AC Leopards (aggregate score)

Second round

  • Mamelodi Sundowns W/O AS Vita Club

Group stage

Mamelodi Sundowns were paired in Group B where they finished on top with 6 points.


  • ZESCO United 2-3 Mamelodi Sundowns (aggregate score)


  • Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 Zamalek (aggregate score)

Mamelodi Sundowns records in the CAF Champions League

1994: Second Round
1999: Play-offs
2000: Group Stage (Top 4)
2001: Finalist
2006: First Round
2007: Play-offs
2008: Play-offs
2015: First Round
2016: Champion
2017: Quarter finals
2018: Group Stage
2018/19: Semi finals
2019/20: Quarter finals
2020/21: Quarter finals
2021/22: Quarter finals
2022/23: Semi finals

This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago

Joseph is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing engaging football contents. Based in Nigeria, Joseph is a die-hard Real Madrid fan with over 8 years experience in the sports betting space. He has covered football match previews, predictions, and news across leagues in Africa and Europe.