Football: African Nations Championship kicks off in Algeria

Without the two-time defending champion, Morocco, the African Nations Football Championship will see seventeen nations compete for the continental trophy.By…

Without the two-time defending champion, Morocco, the African Nations Football Championship will see seventeen nations compete for the continental trophy.By Ibrahima Dione

 Algeria will host the only international competition for local footballers from 13 January to 4 February 2023. 

For almost a month, the official tournament ball made by the equipment manufacturer Umbro, Marhaba meaning Welcome in Arabic, will be used in Algiers, Annaba, Constantine and Oran.

 And a whole country will be buzzing to the rhythm of the matches of the 7th edition of the African Nations Championship (Chan). 

Not since 1990 has the country of Rabah Madjer and Riyad Mahrez hosted a competition of such magnitude.

 “Algeria has won the challenge of infrastructure. I was able to visit the four sites that will be dedicated to the Chan. These stadiums are world-class,” said Wednesday at a press conference, Veron Mosengo-Omba, Secretary General of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

 The host country and Libya will launch the hostilities this Friday at the Nelson Mandela Stadium. 

A new 40,000-seater stadium located in Baraki, a suburb of the Algerian capital. 

The final of the Chan will also be played there.

 For the first time, said Mosengo-Omba, “there will be 28 cameras covering every moment on the pitch and 66 countries will be broadcasting the tournament. This shows the interest in the game now,” which is a showcase for players dreaming of selling their talent in Europe, the beating heart of world football.

 In addition, video-assisted refereeing (VAR) will be used in all matches. 

Of the qualified teams, Madagascar is the only one making its debut in the competition. 

The others have been there every year. 

Eleven of the seventeen teams on the starting line have reached the semi-finals at least once.

 This year, there will be fifteen local technicians on the bench. 

A new record! Morocco could have made more history. 

But unless the situation changes, the two-time defending champion will not be defending its “property.”

 “The Moroccan football team is unable to travel to Constantine (Algeria) because the final authorization of its flight Royal Air Maroc (RAM) from Rabat to Constantine has not been confirmed” by the CAF, announced Thursday in a statement, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF).

 It is a situation arising from the ban on Moroccan planes flying over Algerian airspace in force from September 2021. 

“Countries are sovereign. In the last few days, we have tried to talk with each party. The complications were there before I became president. Politics should not be involved in football. Decisions will be taken according to the rules that govern CAF,” said South African Patrice Motsepe, head of the African football governing body.


The CHAN Groups for the 2023 tournament

 Group A: Algeria (host country), Ethiopia, Libya and Mozambique.

Group B: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Uganda.

Group C: Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco (withdrew) and Sudan.

Group D: Angola, Mali and Mauritania.

Group E: Cameroon, Congo and Niger.


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