• Sixth edition of the CAF African Nations Championship
  • CHAN is reserved for African internationals who play in their national championship
  • For some teams, dress rehearsal before the resumption of qualifying for Qatar 2022

Out of sight out of mind. For African football fans, the opportunities are rare to see the star players of their selections, often expatriated outside the continent. This is perhaps what explains their enthusiasm for each edition of the CAF African Nations Championship. This competition is in fact reserved for players from the Mother Continent who play in their national championship, thus allowing supporters to see under the jersey of their selection the players they see playing each week within their borders.

The 2020 edition, postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is taking place in Cameroon, and is of particular importance for the lucky ones, since it could allow them to win in the selection as the second round of elections approaches. Qualifications for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, in which the 16 teams entered are still entered. FIFA.com analyzes the forces present a few hours before the tournament opens.

Practical information

  • 📆 Dates: January 16 to February 7, 2021
  • 📌Location: Cameroon (Douala, Limbé, Yaoundé)
  • Title holder: Morocco
  • 🆚Participants :
    – Group A: Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Mali, Burkina Faso
    – Group B: Libya, Niger, DR Congo, Congo
    – Group C: Morocco, Togo, Rwanda, Uganda
    – Group D: Zambia, Tanzania, Guinea, Namibia

🌍 The context

This sixth edition was initially to be played in Ethiopia, before being scheduled in Cameroon in April 2020. Postponed due to the pandemic, the competition is finally held in Cameroon, which will also host the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. next year. The opening match will pit Cameroon against Zimbabwe on January 16 at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé, where the final will also be held on February 7.

To know

🇨🇲 A host under pressure: Cameroon is organizing its first major men’s tournament since CAN 1972. For their fourth participation, the Indomitable Lions hope to do better than their place as quarter-finalists in the 2011 and 2016 editions, and above all, than the last place in their group during the l ‘2018 edition. But the Cameroonians did not shine in their preparation matches (two defeats and a draw), despite an offensive line made up of two attackers from Europe: Jacques Zoua and Yannick Ndjeng.

🇲🇦 A Moroccan in his garden : Winners at home during the last edition, the Moroccans had flown over the debates thanks in particular to an Ayoub El Kaabi in a state of grace, who had finished best player and top scorer of the tournament, and who had won his place in the squad. ‘Hervé Renard for Russia. Three years later, he is still playing in the national championship, at Wydad in Casablanca, after a short experience in PR China, and represents the main asset of the Atlas Lions to keep their title. Note that the former international Mustapha Hadji, assistant to Vahid Halilhodzic, coach of the A, was responsible for supervising five players: Abdelkrim Baaddi, Yahya Jabrane Hicham El Mejhad, Soufiane Rahimi and Abdelilah Hafidi.


Spain v Morocco:  Ayoub El Kaabi is congratulated by fans
© Getty Images

🇱🇾 Another miracle for Libya? Winner in 2014 and semi-finalist in 2018, Libya has performed miracles with its team of local players while, paradoxically, the national championship has been regularly canceled during the past decade. This year again, a lucky star seems to shine above the Knights of the Mediterranean, since they had been eliminated by Tunisia in qualifying, but find themselves on the starting line following the withdrawal of the Eagles of Carthage.

🇺🇬 The Cranes want to take flight : For its fifth participation (a record, shared with DR Congo and Zimbabwe), Uganda has never seemed so well armed to finally cross the group stage. Led by the Northern Irishman Johnathan McKinstry, who led Rwanda in the 2016 edition, the Cranes remain on a victory in the COSAFA Cup 2019 and a qualification for the group stage of qualifying for Qatar 2022. But the other side of the coin is that the top scorer in the qualifiers, Patrick Kaddu, won over the Moroccan club RS Berkane, and is therefore ineligible for the tournament.

🇨🇩 The Leopards want to widen the gap: Double winner in 2009 and 2016, the DR Congo wants to achieve the pass three for its return, after missing the 2018 edition. The Leopards record the return on the bench of Florent Ibenge, who had achieved feats with the selection A, before to leave office in 2019 after disappointing performances at CAN. In a selection which relies heavily on the two local heavyweights, TP Mazembe and AS Vita-Club, three players were already in the workforce during the last triumph of the Leopards to date, in 2016: Michée Mika, Ley Matampi and Ricky Tulenge.


Congo DR coach Florent Ibenge
© AFP

👂 Heard…

“Friendly games are different from competitive games. In competition sometimes it is the most determined team that wins. We have to behave like Indomitable Lions by giving our all in every game. Our country has a lot. invested to host this tournament. There is no question of reducing these efforts to nothing. We will give everything “- Jacques Zoua, Cameroon striker, CAN 2017 winner

“If we are well prepared, we should be fine. We have confidence in the group of players called up because the majority of players who participated in the 2019 CECAFA Cup have been selected” – Johnathan McKinstry, Uganda coach, winner of the 2019 CECAFA Cup

“There is still work to be done but we know that we are almost ready because there is not enough time, these matches were welcome and it allowed us to see a little of our shortcomings and to be finally ready for the final phase. We represent a whole nation so we have no room for mistakes “- Gnama Akate, captain of Togo

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