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EDITORIAL : PREVIEW OF AFRICAN NATIONS CUP CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

 

The qualified teams for the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018 will be known this weekend when the second leg matches of the final round of the qualifiers take place.

Fourteen (14) places are up for grabs after Equatorial Guinea joined host Kenya for next year’s finals following the withdrawal of Gabon.

Central Zone


Democratic Republic of Congo is looking forward to making history as the only team to have qualified for every edition of this tournament since its inception in 2009. The Leopards are unarguably the most successful side in the history of the competition having won the title twice, 2009 (in Cote d’Ivoire) and 2016 (in Rwanda).

To make is a dream come through, the Leopards need to overcome their neighbours Congo in a titanic encounter as the men of Brazzaville also seek their second appearance after 2014 edition hosted by South Africa.

Coach Mwinyi Zahera, who took over from Florent Ibenge, (coach of senior national team A),is expected to dig deep into his technical knowledge to overturn the barren draw scoreline when the two Congo countries met in Brazzaville.

Zahera, famous for stints DR Congo giants, Motema Pembe, has kept faith with some members of the victorious ‘Class of 2016’ with the likes of Most Valuable Player Elia Meschak, Padou Bompunga, Nelson Munganga, Doxa Gikanji, Ley Matampi, Yannick Bangala and Makusu Mundele all part of his team in his quest to make it five out of five.

“I’m disappointed with the draw in Brazzaville. I was hoping to win there. I will rate the players seven out 10,” said Zahera, who has defended his choice of Motema Pembe forward Kazadi Kasengu over TP Mazembe’s Ben Malango, top scorer on the domestic front, to lead the attack.

Current African Champions, Cameroun are expected to qualify with ease as they seek to complete the double over Sao Tome in Yaounde.

South Zone

History also beckons Namibia and Comoros as either of the two teams who qualifies would be making a maiden appearance at the Championship. It must be noted that just one goal would be enough for the host, Namibia to scale through after loosing 2-1 to Comoros in Moroni last week.

The Brave Warriors will be without suspended defensive duo, Riaan Hanamub and Tiberius Lombard, but coach Ricardo Mannetti is optimistic his charges can rise to the occasion on Sunday.

“We know what we need to do. We have to at least win by 1-0, and that won’t be that easy but it’s a good advantage for us and we have a good chance of making it the hard way at home. It will be sweet if we manage to pull it off.
“We have players that understand what is expected of them and now is the time for them to come in and go down in history with qualification to the CHAN,” Mannetti was quoted by the Namibia Football Association website.

Other matches in the South Zone are Angola against Madagascar in Luanda and Zambia versus South Africa in Ndola both on Saturday.

West African Zone B

The Black Stars of Ghana will welcome northern neigbours Burkina Faso at the famous Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday to ensure they seal their qualification to Zambia after drawing 2-2 in Ouagadougou in the first leg.

The Ghanaians are expected to miss two key players form Asante Kotoko; Saddick Adams who sustained an injury during their FA Cup match on Wednesday as well as compatriot Awal Mohammed who is recovering from Malaria. Nonetheless, Ahmed Adams and Vincent Atinga have both been invited from Kotoko and Hearts of Oak respectively.
On Ghana’s West will be another good encounter as Le Elephant of La Cote D’voire welcome Niger whereas Benin seek their destiny in neighbouring Nigeria.

 

Central East Zone

Rwanda will have to play above themselves to overturn a 3-0 scoreline suffered at the hands of Uganda in Kampala last week and then Sudan settle the scores with Ethiopia.

North Zone

Libya also host Algeria in Sfax on Friday night as Egypt square up with Morocco in Rabat.

The final tournament will take place from 12 January to 4 February 2018 in Kenya.

Fixtures
Central Zone
19.08.2017 Kinshasa   DR Congo vs Congo (0-0)
19.08.2017 Yaounde   Cameroon vs Sao Tome (2-0)

Central-East Zone
19.08.2017 Kigali        Rwanda vs Uganda (0-3)
19.08.2017 El Obeid   Sudan vs Ethiopia (1-1)

North Zone
18.08.2017 Sfax          Libya vs Algeria (2-1)
18.08.2017 Rabat        Morocco vs Egypt (1-1)

South Zone
19.08.2017 Ndola        Zambia vs South Africa (2-2)
19.08.2017 Luanda     Angola vs Madagascar (0-0)
20.08.2017 Windhoek Namibia vs Comoros (1-2)

West A Zone
19.08.2017 Bamako    Mali vs Mauritania (2-2)
22.08.2017 Conakry    Guinea vs Senegal (1-3)

West B Zone
20.08.2017 Kumasi     Ghana vs Burkina Faso (2-2)
19.08.2017 Kano         Nigeria vs Benin (0-1)
19.08.2017 Abidjan     Cote d’Ivoire vs Niger (1-2)

 

Credit : CAF

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