The 7th African Nations Championship (CHAN) begins tonight in Algeria with an opening match between the Local Fennecs and their neighbours Libya. An opening match will take place in the brand-new Nelson Mandela stadium in Algiers.
There were a lot of people on Thursday evening in the Algerian capital to inaugurate the Nelson Mandela stadium, named after the continental icon. CAF President Patrice Motsepe was particularly moved to honour his late compatriot. At his side, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was present as a few months earlier for the previous edition in Cameroon.
The enclosure located in Baraki, southeast of Algiers, will have taken almost 20 years to come out of the ground. Launched in 2009, the construction knew several years marked by long stoppages before being delivered.
This evening, the stands will be packed and Patrice Mostepe will be able to officially launch a CHAN that he announces as "the most successful in history".
“Algeria has world-class facilities,” he said at the inaugural press conference. " CAF attaches particular importance to this competition dedicated to local players and that is why we have increased the prize money for the competition, in order to encourage African nations to promote the local player and develop football in our continent".
Patrice Motsepe carefully avoided the subject of the pending participation of Morocco, finally validated in the evening. The absence of the double title holders would have undermined his ambitions for the tournament.
The Atlas Lions will once again be the favourites as the competition brings together 18 nations for the first time, divided into five groups.
5 groups, 18 nations
In the first, Algeria will be favorite. In addition to playing at home, she remains on a prestigious victory during the first Arab Cup organized by FIFA at the end of 2021 in Qatar with a team very close to the one that will be aligned for this CHAN. The Fennecs will have to mark the occasion this evening against Libya led by the Frenchman Corentin Martins. The Knights of the Mediterranean regularly shine at CHAN, which they won in 2014. Ethiopia and Mozambique, absent from the last editions, should not worry the two North African teams.
The "group of death" of this CHAN is undoubtedly group B, with three formations among the most competitive on the continent. Twice titled in the past, the Congolese Leopards leave with a slight lead in the forecasts but will have to be wary of the Ivorians and the Senegalese. The two West African giants are taking advantage of the expansion of the format to make their return to the tournament and arrive in Algeria with great ambitions. Uganda seems poorly equipped to create surprises.
In group C, we should find a rejuvenated Morocco compared to previous editions but which will rely on the recent sporting exploits of its elders (consecrated during the last two CHANs and, of course, the first African semi-finalist of a Cup of the world for the A's). It will be more open between Ghana, Sudan and Madagascar, again invited to a continental banquet after their participation in CAN 2019.
The last two groups only have three teams, which will limit the possibility of making up for a bad result. Above all, only one formation will be able to validate its presence in the next round.
In Group D, it is hard to imagine Angola or Mauritania depriving Mali of first place. The Local Eagles have reached two of the last three finals of the event.
Group E seems to him promised in Cameroon even if the Congo could play the role of a spoilsport. The Indomitable Lions, organizers of the last edition, will rely on two players seen in Qatar for the World Cup: the formidable striker Souaibou Marou, who will leave Coton Sport de Garoua for the South African Orlando Pirates after the tournament, and Jérôme Ngom, author of the decisive pass on the goal of Vincent Aboubakar, synonymous with a prestigious victory against great Brazil in Doha.
2009: DR Congo
2016: DR Congo
The complete calendar
January 13: Algeria-Libya (Group A), Nelson Mandela Stadium (Baraki) in Algiers
January 14: Ethiopia-Mozambique (Group A), Nelson Mandela Stadium (Baraki) in Algiers
January 14: DR Congo-Uganda (Group B), Stade du 19 mai 1956 d'Annaba
January 14: Ivory Coast-Senegal (Group B), Stade du 19 mai 1956 d'Annaba
January 15: Morocco-Sudan (Group C), Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine
January 15: Madagascar-Ghana (Group C), Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine
January 16: Mali-Angola (Group D), Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran
January 16: Cameroon-Congo (Group E), Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran
January 17: Mozambique-Libya (Group A), Nelson Mandela Stadium (Baraki) in Algiers
January 17: Algeria-Ethiopia (Group A), Nelson Mandela Stadium (Baraki) in Algiers
January 18: DR Congo-Côte d'Ivoire (Group B), Stade du 19 mai 1956 d'Annaba
January 18: Senegal-Uganda (Group B), Stade du 19 mai 1956 d'Annaba
January 19: Morocco-Madagascar (Group C), Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine
January 19: Ghana-Sudan (Group C), Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine
January 20: Angola-Mauritania (Group D), Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran
January 20: Congo-Niger (Group E), Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran
January 21: Mozambique-Algeria (Group A), Nelson Mandela Stadium (Baraki) in Algiers
January 21: Libya-Ethiopia (Group A), Annaba May 19, 1956 Stadium
January 22: Senegal-DR Congo (Group B), Stade du 19 mai 1956 d'Annaba
January 22: Uganda-Côte d'Ivoire (Group B), Nelson Mandela Stadium (Baraki) in Algiers
January 23: Ghana-Morocco (Group C), Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine
January 23: Sudan-Madagascar (Group C), Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran
January 24: Mauritania-Mali, (Group D), Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran
January 24: Niger-Cameroon, (Group E), Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran
January 27: 1st group A – 2nd group B, Nelson Mandela Stadium (Baraki) in Algiers
January 27: 1st group B – 1st group D, Stade du 19 mai 1956 d'Annaba
January 28: 1st group C – 2nd group A, Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine
January 28: 1st group E – 2nd group C, Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran
January 31: winner quarter 1 – winner quarter 4, Stade Miloud Hadefi d'Oran
January 31: winner quarter 2 – winner quarter 3, Nelson Mandela Stadium (Baraki) in Algiers
Match for third place
February 3: Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran
February 4: Nelson Mandela (Baraki) Stadium in Algiers
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