By Angu Lesley – Cameroon
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced that the African Nations Championship tournament postponed earlier this year will be played between January 16 – February 7 2021.
The African football governing body made the announcement on Thursday, after an Executive Committee meeting, thereby alerting the 16 nations involved in the competition to resume preparations just over three months away from the start of the competition.
Therefore, the sixth edition of the CHAN will kick-off on January 16 with Cameroon facing Zimbabwe and run for three weeks across four cities in Cameroon.
The 16 national teams which qualified for the tournament will converge in the land of the Indomitable Lions to try to dethrone champions Morocco.
The competition is reserved for players plying their trade in their domestic championships on the African continent.
With the world still gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, the matches will be played with a limited number of fans as strict health guidelines will be observed.
Group A is made up of host country Cameroon, who are making their fourth appearance in the tournament and have never gone beyond the quarterfinals.
Mali, runners up in 2016, Burkina Faso who will be making their third appearance in the tournament and Zimbabwe who finished fourth in 2014 make up the other group members.
Meanwhile, defending champions Morocco will be in their fourth participation in Cameroon. They are the overwhelming favourites in group C.
Uganda has been an ever-present in the tournament since missing out of the first edition in 2009. They have never gone past the group stage.
Rwanda reached the quarterfinals of the tournament in 2016, they will be participating for the fourth time. The group is completed by Togo who will be making their debut in Cameroon.
Libya is the favourite in Group B. The 2009 winners finished fourth in 2018 and are making their fourth appearance in the tournament. This group is considered the group of death with a mouth-watering Congolese derby lined up.
Two-time winners DR Congo will be participating in the tournament for the fifth time. Their less illustrious neighbours, Congo Brazzaville are in their third participation with their best performance being a quarterfinal finish in 2018.
Niger who reached the quarter-finals of the tournament in 2011 complete the group. They will be in their third participation.
Elsewhere, Zambia finished third in 2009 and have been quarter-finalists in the other two editions they have participated in. They will be taking part in their fourth tournament in Cameroon.
Guinea finished 4th in 2014 and will be making their third appearance in the tournament in Cameroon. Namibia only previously qualified in 2018 but managed to reach the quarterfinals.
The only other time Tanzania took part in the CHAN was during the maiden edition in 2009, and they were eliminated at the group stage.
CHAN 2020 Groups:
Group A: Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe
Group B: Libya, DR Congo, Congo Republic, Niger
Group C: Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda, Togo
Group D: Zambia, Guinea, Namibia, Tanzania
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