Africa

With African Nations Championship Kicking Off Friday, Here’s All You Need to Know About Event

The African Nations Championship (CHAN) trophy is seen ahead of the final football match between Morocco and Mali at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde, Cameroon, on February 7, 2021.Muhammad OsmanThe African Nations Championship is a biennial African national association football tournament first announced in 2007. The last edition of the men’s football event was held in Cameroon in 2020 and the trophy went to Morocco, which claimed the title for the second time, joining the DRC as the only countries to have won the tournament twice.Algeria is preparing for the Friday kick-off of the 2022 African Nations Championship (CHAN), a biennial African national association football tournament that was first announced in 2007.The African Nations Championship is scheduled to take place between January 13 and February 4 in Algeria, with the participation of 18 African national teams divided into five groups: the first three groups consist of four teams, while the remaining two include three teams each.However, Morocco, the champion of the two recent editions, was reported on Thursday to have withdrawn from the Algeria event after its national team was denied a direct flight from the Moroccan capital, Rabat, to Algeria’s city of Constantine, where Morocco’s national team was set to take part in Group C matches. Now, with 17 teams left, CHAN 2022 may witness some changes in its grouping format.As the long-awaited event, which was initially set to be held in 2022, is almost here, Sputnik takes a look at each and every question that football fans, those interested in sports, and those who are not acquainted with it yet may have.

How It Started

Organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the first edition of CHAN was held in the Ivory Coast in 2009, and was won by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The competition took place between eight African nations at the time.The champion of CHAN 2009 and 2016, the DR Congo, along with Morocco, the holder of the championship title for the last two consecutive editions in 2018 and 2020, are the only countries to have won the tournament twice during its 14-year history. Tunisia and Libya have scooped one title each.Inspired by the interest of African countries in the tournament, CHAN was expanded to include 16 participants for the second edition held in Sudan in 2011, with Tunisia winning the tournament, which is also known as the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship for sponsorship purposes.The third edition was held in 2014 in South Africa, with Libya coming out on top after beating Ghana. The next tourney was hosted by Rwanda in 2016 and was won by the DRC. As for the fifth and sixth editions of the CHAN championship, held in Morocco and Cameroon respectively, the cup was in the possession of Morocco.In 2022, CAF announced the expansion of CHAN from 16 to 18 teams, with the North and West Africa zones becoming the beneficiaries of this change, as they each gain a representative. The format of the tournament is set to evolve with a shift to five qualifying groups: three groups of four teams and two groups of three teams.

Are CHAN and Africa Cup of Nations the Same Event?

One might wonder while surfing on the Internet and coming across different names of what seem to be the same thing, in this case the Africa Cup of Nations and the African Nations Championship, if they are actually the same event.While football fans may be aware of the answer to that question (and if you are one, you can skip this part), those who have only started their sports journey may find the information useful.The Africa Cup of Nations, aka AFCON, and the African Nations Championship, or CHAN, are in fact two different events.First held in 1957, AFCON is the main international men’s football competition in Africa. Since 1968, the tournament has been held every two years, switching to odd-numbered years in 2013 so that it does not coincide with the calendar of the FIFA World Cup.Speaking of the difference between the African Nations Championship and the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), CHAN requires that participating national teams consist only of those playing in their national league competitions. For example, Egypt national team star Mo Salah, who plays domestically in England for Liverpool, is not eligible to play in the competition.Another difference between the two events is the number of participants, as AFCON features 24 final national teams, whereas CHAN is played with 18.

CHAN 2022

The seventh edition of the biennial tournament was originally scheduled from July 10 to August 1, 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the already-scheduled 2022 FIFA World Cup in November–December 2022.With 18 nations initially planned to compete to get their hands on the trophy, the rules of the African Nations Championship stipulate that the first and second of the first three groups, and the first of the fourth and fifth groups, qualify for the quarter-finals.The groups are divided as follows:Group A: Algeria – Libya – Ethiopia – Mozambique.Group B: Democratic Republic of the Congo – Uganda – Ivory Coast – Senegal.Group C: Morocco – Sudan – Madagascar – Ghana.Group D: Mali – Angola – Mauritania.Group E: Cameroon – Congo – Niger.The matches of the three-week tournament will be held in the four Algerian cities of Algiers (Group A), Annaba (Group B), Constantine (Group C), and Oran (Group D and E).On Thursday, on the eve of the tournament’s kick-off, two-time champion of CHAN and current holder of the title Morocco announced its withdrawal from this year’s event in Algeria amid deteriorating diplomatic relations between Morocco and the neighboring host country.Morocco, which made a shining appearance in the recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar, justified its move by Algeria’s refusal to allow the Moroccan national team to take a direct flight on board the Moroccan national airline, Royal Air Maroc, to the Algerian city of Constantine, where the team was scheduled to participate in the CHAN group stage. The CAF has not yet announced what arrangements will be made following the recent developments.The opening match of CHAN 2022 is set to take place on Friday, January 13 at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers between Algeria, the host country, and Libya.The Nelson Mandela Stadium in the Algerian capital is also set to be the venue of the final match of the African Nations Championship.CHAN 2022 marks the first major African competition hosted by Algeria since March 1990, when the North African nation hosted and won that year’s edition of the African Cup of Nations Final after defeating Nigeria.ViralPiers Morgan Stands Up for Ronaldo Over Al-Nassr Transfer10 January, 14:05 GMT

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