The Seventh CHAN Part 3
January 26, 2023
The Seventh CHAN – The Knockout Phase Begins
January 31, 2023

The Seventh CHAN (Part 4)

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (January 25th 2023)

The Groups of Three

Only three teams were drawn in Groups D and E of Algeria’s African Nations Championship (CHAN). Unlike Group C which ended with only three teams due to the late withdrawal of defending champions Morocco for political reasons, this was by design. Only one team of Angola, Mali and Mauritania would progress from Group D to the knockout stage. Similarly, only one of Cameroon, Congo (the Republic of) and Niger would progress to the quarter-finals from Group E.

Both groups would produce unexpected qualifiers – Mauritania and Niger.

The Group Stages

Angola left this CHAN unbeaten with two draws. On January 16th they drew 3-3 with Mali at Oran’s Miloud Hadefi Stadium. Depu netted a brace, opening the scoring after 12 minutes. Hamadou Sinayoko equalised for Mali after 21 minutes. Two minutes later Depu added his second to restore Angola’s lead. After 72 minutes Deivi Vieira added Angola’s third, but six minutes later Yoro Diaby pulled one back. After 83 minutes Ousmane Coulibaly completed the scoring, so Angola and Mali shared the spoils. Four days later Angola and Mauritania drew 0-0 in Oran, leaving all to play for in the final group stage match between Mali and Mauritania.

On January 24th Mauritania surprised Mali with a 1-0 win at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium, which is named after the late great Algerian libero, once referred to as Africa’s Franz Beckenbauer by the late great Pelé.

Mamadou Sy scored the crucial goal which sent Mauritania through to their first knock-out stage in a CHAN after 53 minutes. Mauritania’s joy was short-lived as the Vice-president of the Mauritania Football Association, Pape Amghar Dieng died while celebrating the historic win with their team the following day.

Mauritania play Sénégal in the quarter-final at Annaba’s May 19th Stadium[1] on January 27th. Meanwhile, hosts, Algeria, entertain la Côte d’Ivoire at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Alger in the earlier kick-off.

Cameroon was expected to advance from Group E with little difficulty, but Niger had other ideas. On January 16th Cameroon dispatched the Republic of Congo 1-0. Jérôme Ngom Mbekeli netted the winner after 63 minutes at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium. The Republic of Congo drew 0-0 with Niger four days later at the same venue, which eliminated the Congolese. Cameroon only had to avoid defeat on January 24th against the Nigeriens in Oran to advance to the quarter-finals, but Ousseini Badamassi made history by scoring the goal that set Niger through to a quarter-final clash.

Niger will play against Ghana in the later kickoff tomorrow while Madagascar will meet Mozambique at Constantine’s Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui.[2] It is the first time that Niger has qualified for the knock-out stage of the CHAN, which is guaranteed to have a new name on the trophy.

[1] The May 19th Stadium is named in honour of the students’ strike in Alger on that date in 1956. The students joined the fight for the freedom of Algeria against the colonial rule of France, which was led by the Front Nationale de Liberation (FLN – National Liberation Front).

[2] In the night of June 7th-8th 1960 four Algerian freedom fighters conducted heroic resistance against a French military operation in Constantine. All four, Chahid Slimani Daoudi, known as Mohamed Chahid Hamlaoui, Meriem Bouattoura aka Yasmina, Bachir Bourghoud and Mohamed Kechoud were heroes of the fight for independence. Hamlaoui was martyred during that battle.

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