Friday, January 13
*Algeria Vs Libya – 10pm
The African Nations Championship (CHAN) will have a new winner after defending champion Morocco pulled out.
Morocco have blamed tournament hosts Algeria for denying them a direct flight from Rabat to Constantine where their group matches will be played.
This is the latest of an ongoing feud between the two countries due to a border conflict.
Morocco Federation said in a statement: “(We) were informed on December 22 by Caf that an authorisation in principle had been obtained. The obtaining of the final authorization has unfortunately not been confirmed by CAF.
“The FRMF has communicated the details of the flight plan and coordinates in order to obtain final authorization for the RAM flight from Rabat and continued the preparation of the trip and the participation in CHAN.”
Morocco beat Mali 2-0 in Yaounde two years back to win the previous edition in Cameroon.
They were strong favourites to defend their crown and had been pitted in Group C (Constantine) alongside Sudan, Madagascar and Ghana.
Algeria Seek Perfect Start
Algeria are back at CHAN after missing the previous four editions.
This will be their second appearance after finishing fourth in 2011 on their debut.
Coached by former player Madjid Bougherra, Algeria will fancy their chances to lift the trophy on home soil.
The Desert Foxes will be targeting a perfect start when they host Libya at the Mandela Stadium in Algiers before Ethiopia and Mozambique in Group A.
But in Libya, they face a side that is more experienced in this competition.
Libya won this competition in 2014 in South Africa and will be hoping to go past the groups after failing that hurdle in Cameroon.
“We know Algeria and we will show our potential during the (North African) derby,” said Libya head coach Corentin Martins.
“We have the honour to play the first match against Algeria, the host country, and to be present during the opening ceremony.”
“It is a difficult derby match that awaits us and therefore we will do everything we can to achieve a positive result. We will show our full potential as well especially since we worked to achieve the best possible result.”
Group A (Algiers): Algeria, Libya, Ethiopia, Mozambique
Group B (Annaba): DR Congo, Uganda, Côte D’Ivoire, Senegal
Group C (Constantine): Sudan, Madagascar, Ghana, Morocco (withdrew)
Group D (Oran): Mali, Angola, Mauritania
Group E (Oran): Cameroon, Congo, Niger