The sixth edition of the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament kicks-off in Cameroon today Saturday 16th January 2021.
The sixth edition of the tournament promises to be very exciting with some mouth-watering fixtures to watch out for.
The tournament will however be without two West African giants Ghana and Nigeria who failed to qualify for this edition.
Ghana failed to qualify for the tournament for the second consecutive time falling to the same opposition, Burkina Faso whilst the finalist in the last edition, Nigeria was denied qualification by a resilient and fascinating Togolese side.
Cameroon vs. Zimbabwe
After being rescheduled from April 2020 due to COVID-19 global pandemic, the tournament designed exclusively for footballers who play in their domestic African competitions will kick off, with the group A fixture between hosts Cameroon and the Warriors of Zimbabwe.
The Indomitable Lions play this tournament at home with the sole ambition of winning the title despite a troubled preparation.
The hosts are appearing in CHAN for the fourth time. For the opening match, the Cameroonians hope to do better than in 2018, winning their first match of the tournament.
“Cameroon will try to win the opening match because in this kind of competition, the most important thing is to win. After several internships, I think we have learned the necessary lessons for CHAN. The adjustments have been made in relation to the warm-up friendly matches and several readjustments have been made”, said coach Mpile Martin of the Indomitable Lions.
Zimbabwe is playing its 5th Total CHAN, a shared participation record with DR Congo and Uganda. Despite this experience in this continental tournament, the Warriors have won only three of their previous 15 matches in the competition.
“We are called The Warriors. We are here to win and to look good despite a disrupted preparation but that does not matter now” Zimbabwe coach, Zdravko Logarusic said.
The first game of the tournament kicks off at 4pm GMT.
Mali vs. Burkina Faso
Mali faces their neighbours Burkina Faso in the second group A game on Saturday16th January 2021 at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé.
The Eagles of Mali are counting on their young elements to repeat the feat of 2016 when they reached the final of the tournament. Mali had lost only one of their six matches in their last appearance in the 2016 Championship. The only defeat was in the final against DR Congo (0-3).
Burkina Faso, on the other hand comes to CHAN 2021scoring just a single goal to beat rivals Ghana. The Stallions who have never won a match in two CHAN participations (3 draws, 3 losses) wish to change the situation with players like Amadou Zon, Hermann Nikièma, and Soumaïla Ouattara.
“Our goal is to qualify for the quarter-finals. Indeed, we have not been good in the past, but then everything has changed, and it is up to us to prove what we are worth,” said Burkina Faso coach Seydou Zerbo.
Defending champions, the Atlas Lions of Morocco, who defeated Nigeria 4-0 in the final three years ago, are among the countries highly fancied to win the title thanks to an experienced squad named for the tournament.
Nevertheless, the North Africans are expected to face tough opposition from former winners DR Congo and Libya, as well as Mali, Zambia, Guinea, and Burkina Faso.
Drawn in Group C where they face an easier task to reach the knockout stage, the Atlas Lions are expected to progress ahead of opponents Rwanda, Uganda, and Togo because of the strength of their squad.
Two former winners DR Congo and Libya have been drawn in a tough Group B where they are regarded as the favourites over opponents Congo and Niger.