African Nations Championship to get underway in Morocco

African Nations Championship to get underway in Morocco

THE African Nations Championships is a competition held every two years in Africa.

The Championship of African Nations (CHAN) tournament kicks off on Saturday January 13 in Morocco.

Although Africa's second-tier global competition won't feature the same big names as seen in the recent African Cup of Nations, there is still a prestige to competing in a tournament reserved largely for players who play club football.

In the 2017 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, Hey's team lost two games against the hosts Kenya and Zanzibar but drew goalless against Libya.

The national football team, Amavubi have arrived in the Moroccan city of Tangier, which will be their base throughout the group stage round of the 2018 Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) finals. They did not progress from the group stage in the 2016 edition.

Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea will play in Group C at the Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier.

"Far from putting pressure on the players, the qualification to the World Cup 2018 in Russian Federation and the coronation of WAC in the Champions League is a motivation for players to apply to the maximum and to fill the list of exploits by a new coronation". "We have worked very hard to ensure that we do not disappoint the country".

Group winners and runners-up advance to the quarter-finals and the eventual champions pocket $1.25 million (about 1.050 million euro).

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This will be Ivory Coast's fourth appearance in the competition having participated in the 2009 finals as tournament hosts.

Coached by Jamal Sellami, expectations are high this time round for the Atlas Lions - after the country recently qualified for the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup following a 16-year absence at the competition.

Fellow east African country Kenya were due to succeed Rwanda as hosts, but surrendered the right to Morocco after falling behind with stadia preparations.

"The year 2017 has witnessed the great awakening of Moroccan football and its return to the forefront of the continental and worldwide scenes", Sellami told MAP.

"Far from putting pressure on the players, the qualification to the World Cup 2018 in Russian Federation and the coronation of WAC in the Champions League is a motivation for players to apply to the maximum and to fill the list of exploits by a new coronation".

The Brave Warriors will be making their debut in the competition and defender Emilio Martin believes they are more than capable of reaching the knock-out stages.

The French tactician has included highly-rated attackers Karamoko Traore, Ely Samba Ould Voulany and Moulaye Ahmed Khalil, though rising star Moctar Salem Belal didn't make the cut.

Hosts Morocco head Group A along with Mauritania, Guinea and Sudan, while Group B has Cote d'Ivoire, Zambia, Uganda and Namibia.

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