CAF has disclosed that the draw for the qualifying series for the 2022 African Nations Championships (CHAN) which final tournament will be held next January in Algeria.
The statement is however silent on the venue for the draw which was originally to hold alongside that of AFCON 2023 qualifiers last month in South Africa. The African Nations Championship is solely for nationals of African countries who feature in the domestic competitions.
The final tournament will also have an unusual format of 18 teams instead of 16. No reason was offered for the change of format.
According to CAF, there will be five groups in the final tournament. Three of the groups will have four teams while the other two groups will feature three team of which only the leaders will advance to the quarter finals.
But in the three groups of four teams, both the leaders and runners-up will advance to the quarter finals.
The Central (set to include Chad, Congo, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe) and Western A (set to include Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal) zones will both have an extra qualifying slot under the revised format.
Morocco will take part in the Northern Zone qualifiers as they bid to win the title for a third straight time, having defended it at the delayed 2020 finals which were held in Cameroon last year.
The delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with the World Cup in Qatar in November and December seem to be having a knock-on effect on the CHAN finals, which are scheduled for 8-31 January 2023.
Qualifying spots for CHAN 2022
- Northern Zone – 2 places + hosts Algeria
- Western Zone A – 3 places
- Western Zone B – 3 places
- Central Zone – 3 places
- Central Eastern Zone – 3 places
- Southern Zone – 3 places