The 2018 African Nations Championship
While there is plenty of football action to keep punters busy, this coming week sees the start of one of Arica’s largest football competitions. The 2018 African Nations Championship will kick off on the 13th of January and run until the 4th of February. Also known as the Total African Nations Championship or CHAN for short, the tournament is a biennial event organised by the Confederation of African Football.
Unlike the African Cup of Nations, each side competing in the CHAN tournament must be composed of players who play in the domestic league for their own country. For example, a Nigerian player is only eligible to play for the national team if he plays for a local Nigerian club. Originally, Kenya was named as the hosts for the tournaments but were unable to make the necessary preparations in time. The role of hosts was then passed on to Morocco who then gained automatic qualification.
This sudden change in host country caused a shift in the qualifying teams. Two months ago, Egypt lost 4-2 on aggregate to Morocco in the qualifiers. Since Morocco got moved out to automatic qualification, Egypt got a second chance and attend the tournament. They turned the offer down citing a busy domestic calendar. For the open spot, Ethiopia took on Rwanda in a playoff, which went the way of the Rwandans.
Sixteen Teams and Four Groups
The DR Congo is the current reigning champions but failed to qualify for the tournament for the first time ever. This leaves the door open for many teams to prove their worth. A total of 16 teams qualified for the African Nations Championship. On the 17th of November last year, the pool draw was held to determine which teams would go into which pot (pool).
In pot 1, the hosts are joined by Libya, the Ivory Coast and Angola. Pot 2 comprises of Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia and Guinea. In pot 3, Congo will take on Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda. The final pot comprises of Namibia, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea.
After the initial round of qualifying matches, the top two teams in each group will move on to the quarterfinals. The four top teams then play the semi-finals in Casablanca and Marrakesh. The winners of the semi-finals will compete in the finals held in Casablanca on the 4th of February.
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