African football top honcho Patrice Motsepe has asserted optimism that the Algerian edition of the African Nations Championships (CHAN) will be hugely successful.
The Billionaire made the remarks during the inauguration of the host venue, a 40,000-seater Mandela Stadium in Baraki, Algeria on Thursday.
“As soon as you arrive in Algeria, you feel the love that the people have for this game. This guarantees us a great party,” Motsepe was quoted by CAFonline.com.
Following the withdrawal of defending champions and giants Morocco due to political-related reasons, many had lost hope about having a great show at the finals.
Others have over the years questioned the relevance of the competition, but Motsepe reiterated its beauty and importance.
“It is a unique competition of its kind. African football needs CHAN, which is a real showcase for our local football.”
“Most of our players who shine today in Europe or elsewhere have a local base. For example, Sadio Mané was trained in Senegal.”
The Mamelodi Sundowns owner also paid homage to the African nations that represented the continent at the recently concluded Qatar FIFA World Cup.
“We witnessed breathtaking performances from our representatives at this World Cup,” he said before adding:
“Tunisia beat France, Cameroon emerged victorious against Brazil, Ghana’s performance in a very difficult group, Senegal’s qualification for the knockout stages and what about Morocco – the first African nation to qualify for the semifinals of this great stage of world football. Africa was truly a source of pride.”
Algeria will open the tournament on Friday against Libya at the Mandela Stadium.
Meanwhile, Uganda who are pitted in Group B along with Senegal, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo, will get off their campaign against the latter on Saturday.