All systems go for Chan 2014

2014-01-08 13:11

The third edition of the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament gets under way on Saturday when Bafana Bafana take on Mozambique in the opening match at the Cape Town Stadium.

Devised by the Confederation of African Football in September 2007, Chan is a tournament reserved exclusively for players who are active in the local leagues in the country of their birth.

Players who play abroad or elsewhere in Africa are not qualified to take part in the competition.

The inaugural Chan tournament, held in 2009, was hosted by the Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo won the competition.

After expanding the tournament from eight to 16 teams, the second edition was held in Sudan in 2011, and Tunisia walked away the winners.

Three years on, and South Africa will host the event, which was originally supposed to be held in Libya. The tournament was moved as a result of political unrest in the north African nation.

Bafana will be competing in their second Chan tournament – they reached the quarterfinal stage in 2011, but lost out to Algeria in Khartoum.

Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Polokwane were announced as the host cities for the event, and the 65 000-seater Cape Town Stadium is set to welcome the two finalists on February 1.

South Africa will face Mozambique in the opening match, with Nigeria and Mali completing a tough Group A.

Group B consists of Zimbabwe, Uganda, Burkina Faso and Morocco and will also be based in Cape Town.

Based in Bloemfontein, Group C comprises Ghana, Libya, Ethiopia and Congo, and Group D, in Polokwane, will be contested by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Burundi and Mauritania.

The knockout stages begin in Cape Town on January 25, with the top two teams of each group progressing to the quarterfinals.

The tournament is held every two years, alternating with the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and will next take place in Rwanda in 2016.

In addition to hosting the tournament, South Africa will also be the venue for the draw for the 2015 Afcon qualifying rounds on January 31.

South Africa’s fixtures, all of which will be played at Cape Town Stadium, are as follows:

Saturday: South Africa v Mozambique (6pm)

January 15: South Africa v Mali (5pm)

January 19: South Africa v Nigeria (7pm)

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