Saturday January 13 2018

Let the games begin

Coach Sebastien and his charges arrived in

Coach Sebastien and his charges arrived in Morocco with the hope of lifting the Chan trophy that has eluded the team thrice. COURTESY PHOTO  



The wait is over as hosts Morocco get us started proper with the first kick of the ball against Mauritania when the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) rolls off tonight.
Four-time finalists Uganda are not in action until tomorrow when they face Zambia but opportunities to witness the first goal, early celebrations, and even the first red card are all upon us today.
This is the fifth edition of the home-based players tournament, the inaugural having taken place in Ivory Coast in 2009.
Morocco 2018 is another fascinating one. It will be the third finals where defending champions are missing after 2016 winners DRC were eliminated in the qualifiers by neighbours Congo Brazzaville.
Tunisia and Libya, the latter the only former champions at this edition, are the other title winners to have previously failed to qualify for their trophy defence.
From eight participants in its first edition, Chan has moved to 16 teams at subsequent editions in Sudan 2011, South Africa 2014 and Rwanda 2016. The trend continues to Morocco 2018.
Starting with South Africa 2014, the competition is now recognised by Fifa, who added it to the competitions that are considered when setting up world classifications.
This edition’s hosts, Morocco, were awarded the rights after Kenya failed to meet requirements to hold the event. Let us take a quick look at the host country, the four match venues, groups and fixtures.

Morocco vs Mauritania, 22:30
Guinea vs Sudan, 17:30
Ivory Coast vs Namibia, 19:30
Zambia vs Uganda, 22:30
Jan 15
Libya vs Eq. Guinea, 19:30
Nigeria vs Rwanda, 22:30
Jan 16
Angola vs Burkina Faso, 19:30
Cameroon vs Congo, 22:30
Jan 17
Morocco vs Guinea, 19:30
Sudan vs Mauritania, 22:30
Jan 18
Ivory Coast vs Zambia, 19:30
Uganda vs Namibia, 22:30
Jan 19
Libya vs Nigeria, 19:30
Rwanda vs Eq. Guinea, 22:30
Jan 20
Angola vs Cameroon, 19:30
Congo vs Burkina Faso, 22:30
Jan 21
Mauritania vs Guinea, 22:00
Sudan vs Morocco, 22:00
Jan 22
Namibia vs Zambia, 22:00
Uganda vs Ivory Coast, 22:00
Jan 23
Eq. Guinea vs Nigeria, 22:00
Rwanda vs Libya, 22:00
Jan 24
B. Faso vs Cameroon, 22:00
Congo vs Angola, 22:00