With less than a fortnight to the start of the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN), one would feel the silence in the continental media regarding a tournament some feel should be the second biggest on the continent.
But, no..The Africa Nations Championship seems to be overlooked by the more developed football powerhouses on the continent as an unwanted distraction but don’t be mistaken, the lesser powers should take this emerging bull by it’s horns and maybe just maybe one day will be able to reap the fruits from what looks like a gambled sow.
The Importance Of Chan?
It’s bigger brother the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) continues to enjoy the much alluded limelight despite calls for it to be held less more frequently (bi-annual basis) and maybe pick a leaf from the Euro or lately the Copa America that has changed with times.
Coming into its forth tournament, one would be hard pressed to find football positives from a tournament that was created with the sole purpose of creating a barometer for national leagues on the continent with the successes of teams like Tunisia under turmoil in 2011 and current defending champions Libya in 2014.
How much should one read into CHAN?
For the participating players it should be a springboard for better careers as it gives them that much needed opportunity to represent their nations and hopefully catch the eye of one of the scouts from Europe’s major leagues but besides that we shouldn’t read much into the performances of national teams at the tournament, not just yet, Uganda Cranes anyone?
The traditional African powerhouses continue to look down on the tournament whose qualification format one would argue is set to create a more inclusive championship with the introduction of the zonal qualifiers but why isn’t the same applied for the AFCON qualifiers? Your guess is as good as mine
In its current standing, CHAN is a good idea but with revised handling can do better to live out its dream of being a true gauge of the African national leagues or if not we risk it being looked at as another CECAFA/COSAFA tournament with little impact whatsover on the growth of football on the continent.
Otherwise looking ahead to a good tournament. See you at the Amahoro stadium.