Little can be said for the rest of the football world – that is Africa. The disappointing performance of Zaire at the 1974 World Cup diminished already miniscule interest – the miracle did not happen and the game appeared in decline. One was able to get some information, like results, final tables, and brief commentaries from French magazines, but that was all. Except France, nobody else showed interest and African players appeared almost exclusively in the French leagues by 1977. Some were good – like the Congolese Francois M'Pele (30 years old), the Cameroonian Jean-Pierre Tokoto (29), and the Algerian Mustapha Dahleb (25), all playing for Paris SG, but none became big European star. There were no African players among the very best players in Europe – players like Larbi Benbarek in the 1940s-1950s, Rachid Mekhloufi in the 1960s, Salif Keita in the late 1960s and early 1970s, not to mention giant like Eusebio. Without high profile players, African football faded from European minds. The continent was not doing well politically and economically too, so it was a miracle that African countries managed to maintain regular domestic and international championships. The most organized was the football in the Northern Arabic countries, yet, they did not dominate the sport – which suggests low quality. It was amateur football everywhere, badly affected by politics with specific African flavour: tribalism. No country was able to get its best players in the national team, let alone clubs. Good players were spread in many clubs, depending on tribal boundaries – thus, no country was able to build strong club, and in turn many skilful players remained local, lacking international exposure. Tribalism plagues African football to this very day – especially national teams, but the main problem is club football, eternally suffocated. A small problem, yet a problem, is the difficulty to find reliable information, particularly pictorial one. An irritating problem, for there were interesting events:
The African Champions Cup culminated with a final between Hearts of Oak (Accra, Ghana) and Hafia (Conakry, Guinea).
African Cup Winners Cup was new tournament – it started in 1975, so it was only the 3rd issue in 1977. Too young to trace patterns – quite naturally, every year had new winner. One of the better known outside the continent clubs reached the final – Canon (Yaounde, Camerun).
The other finalist was almost the opposite of Canon: