By Bariyo Brian Tumuramye
Kampala: Uganda has been invited for a pre-Chan tournament in early January in preparation for the competition which will be played later in the month.
Cameroon will be hosting the biennial competition and the games are meant to shape them ahead of the tournament and the Cranes will be part of the four teams invited as confirmed by the Cameroonian Federation.
The three invited teams have been asked to arrive in the West Africa nation by the end of December.
“The pre-Chan mini-tournament will be played in Yaoundé from January 1-7, 2021 with four teams that qualified for Chan; Cameroon, Niger, Zambia, and Uganda,” the Federation confirmed.
“This mini-tournament is organized by Fecafoot to help put [Cameroon] in optimal conditions before the start of Chan which the country is hosting from January 16 to February 7.”
“[Cameroon’s] challengers arrive in Yaounde on December 29. Most of the matches will take place in the brand new Impots stadium and at the Annex stadium in Yaounde.”
Cameroon is in Group A with Mali, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe while Group B comprises of Libya, DR Congo, Congo and Niger.
Group C has Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda and Togo while Group D has Zambia, Guinea, Namibia and Tanzania. Two top teams will make it to the knockout phase.
The Cranes, who will be taking part in their fifth consecutive Chan tournament after featuring in 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018 editions, will face Rwanda on January 18 at the Stade de Unification in Douala, before tackling Togo on January 22 at the same venue. The final group game will be on January 26 against Morocco.
Tanzania will open their campaign against Zambia on January 18, then face Namibia on January 23 and finish their matches against Guinea on January 27, while Cameroon will face Zimbabwe in the tournament opener on January 16, take on Mali on January 20, and wind up their preliminary matches against Burkina Faso on January 24.
The Cranes have never progressed past the group stage of the competition and it is their ultimate goal this time round.
The tournament, which exclusively features players from each nation’s respective national championships, was supposed to be hosted by Ethiopia but was moved to Cameroon after the Ethiopian football authorities admitted the country was not ready to hold the event.
The event will be hosted by the cities of Yaounde, Douala, and Limbe and will also serve as a warm-up for Cameroon ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.