An intense qualifying round of matches has resulted in 18 countries booking their tickets to take part in the finals of the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2023.
While Uganda and the DRC maintained their record participation in the tournament since its inception, other countries made a return after missing out in the previous editions. Each of the six zones will be represented by 3 countries and will be the first time the tournament will be played with 18 teams instead of the usual 16.
NORTH ZONE: Algeria, Morocco, Libya
The Northern Zone will be represented by Morocco and Libya in addition to host, Algeria. Morocco and Libya will take part in the CHAN as UNAF representatives. Both the Atlas Lions and the Mediterranean Knights participated in the 2020 edition held in Cameroon and Morocco were crowned champions.
WEST A ZONE: Senegal, Mali, Mauritania
In West Zone A, Senegal return to the CHAN after an 11-year absence, beating Guinea 5-3 on penalties to break the jinx of the country that is considered its “bête noire”, having deprived the Senegalese of qualification in the 2016, 2018 and 2020 finals. The two-legged encounter ended 1-0 in favor of both teams and the winner was decided on penalties.
Mali and Mauritania will be part of the Algerian party thanks to clear victories in the second round of the qualifiers. Reigning runners-up, Mali, overcame Sierra Leone 2-1 and 2-0 in both legs while Mauritania dominated Guinea-Bissau 2-0 on aggregate after narrow 1-0 victories in both legs.
WEST B ZONE: Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Ghana
Meanwhile, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Ghana each secured a slot to the final tournament in Algeria. In the highly anticipated derby, Ghana and Nigeria played to a draw (2-0, 0-2) and had to go to a penalty shootout which ended 5-4 in favour of the Black Galaxies.
There was also a close encounter between Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. The two teams could only manage to draw and go home empty-handed. It was the penalty shoot-out that decided the match which ended 5-3 in favour of Côte d’Ivoire.
Things looked a bit easier for Niger which overturned a 1-0 lost in the first leg to beat Togo 3-1 at home, thanks to goals from Boubacar Soumana, Adamou Garba and Moussa Issa. The Togolese goal was scored by Bilali Akoro in the 48th minute.
CENTRAL ZONE: Cameroon, Congo, DR Congo
Forced to play their first leg away from home, CAR won 2-1 in Brazzaville before losing 1-0 in the return leg and Congo took advantage of the away goal to qualify.
A week ago in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea beat Cameroon 1-0 but could not hold on to that score. In the return match on Sunday in Garoua, Equatorial Guinea fell to Cameroon 2-0 with goals from Kaiba Djawal (43′) and Souaibou (46′).
At the Martyrs Stadium complex in Kinshasa on Sunday, the Democratic Republic of Congo thrashed Chad 5-0. In the first leg, DRC had already dominated their opponent with a score of 2-1.
CENTRAL-EAST ZONE: Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia
After a goalless draw in the first leg, Ethiopia won 1-0 against Rwanda to earn a place in the next CHAN. At St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende, Uganda won 3-0, having beaten Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg. Finally, between Djibouti and Sudan, the latter won 7-3 on aggregate with 4-1 and 3-2 wins.
SOUTH ZONE: Mozambique, Angola and Madagascar
Angola dominated South Africa 2-0 in the first leg and 4-1 in the second leg at Dobsonville Stadium to secure a place in Algeria 2022.
Madagascar have supplanted Botswana after a 1-0 win in the first leg, the Barea only needed a 1-1 draw in the second leg to secure the precious ticket to Algeria 2022.
Elsewhere, Malawi and Mozambique played out a 1-1 and 0-0 draw in both matches with Mozambique’s away goal in the first leg making the difference.