This years host Morocco only came to CAF’s rescue after Kenya was deemed unfavourable to host the fifth edition of CHAN.
Morocco had already qualified for the finals after defeating African giants Egypt 4-2 on the qualifiers with a 3-1 win in the second leg cupping off a fine performance after drawing 1-1 in Alexandria in the first leg.
This is Morocco’s third appearance in the tournament having initial taken part in the 2014 edition in South Africa where they were eliminated on penalties by Nigeria at the quarter finals stage and a poor show in Rwanda 2016.
In the last CHAN tournament in Rwanda, The Atlas Lions finished third in group A and hence failed to make it to the knock out stages with a Won 1 Drawn 1 and Lost 1 record.
Morocco will hope experienced coach Herve Renard can inspire them to at least a semi finals finish this time round.
After Waydad Casablanca won the CAF Champions league this season, Morocco will hope the same fortunes can befall the national team at CHAN and judging by the list of players that they have at their disposal, its hard to see them not making it out of the group stages.
Walid El Karti – Waydad Casablanca
Achraf Bencharki – Waydad Casablanca
PICK. Group A Runners ups.
Guinea are the sole reason why West African power house Senegal did not make it to this years edition after eliminating them 6-3 on aggregate with a breath taking 5-0 win in Conakry in the second leg.
In the first round of qualifiers, the West Africans thumped Guinea-Bissau 10-1 over two legs in the heaviest win of the qualifiers.
This is Guinea’s second appearance in the finals event after an odd defying fourth place finish in the last edition in Rwanda.
The National Elephants are slowly but steadily rising in terms of football on the African continent and if they can replicate the form they show cased in Rwanda, the sky may be the limit for them this time round.
Seydouba Bissiri Camara
PICK. Group A Winners.
This is the first time Sudan have qualified for the CHAN tournament after kicking a ball with their previous qualification coming by virtual of being host(2011).
In 2011, Sudan won their group convincingly on route to finishing third in the tournament after defeating Algeria 1-0 in the third placing game.
The Falcons of Jedaine put up a strong performance in their only previous tournament although it was on home soil and it remains to be seen if they can replicate such a showing on un chanted grounds.
Saifeldeen Malik – Al-Khartoum SC
Muhannad Tahir Osman – Al Hilal SC
PICK. Group A Third position.
Mauritania upset the odds in qualification as they defeated both Mali and Liberia over two legs each.
This will be the second time Al-Murabitun will be competing at a CHAN tournament proper after qualifying for the 2014 edition in South Africa.
In 2014, Mauritania acted as whipping boys in group D where they lost all their games and conceded eight goals in the three games.
What happened to them in 2018 can only be avoided with a spirited perfomance by Mauritania this time round and chances of that happening is low.
With the other teams on a different level, 2014 may come back to hunt them.
Abdoulaye Sileye Gaye – ASAC Concorde
PICK. Group A Last position
Group A Matches:
Morocco vs Mauritania – 13/01/17
Guinea vs Sudan – 14/01/17
Morocco vs Guinea – 17/01/17
Mauritania vs Sudan -17/01/17
Sudan vs Morocco – 21/01/17
Mauritania vs Guinea – 21/01/17