The 2016 African
Nations Championship (CHAN) will kick off in Rwanda this weekend, marking the fourth edition of the biennial tournament.
The CHAN was first announced by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) back in September 2007. It is open only to players who play their trade on the African continent and is held on even-numbered years, alternating with the more high profile Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The first tournament was held in 2009 in Ivory Coast and was won by DR Congo, who defeated Ghana 2-0 in the final. It featured just eight teams and was staged across two venues in Abidjan and Bouake.
The tournament expended to 16 teams and five venues for its second edition in Sudan in 2011, which saw Tunisia claim the CHAN title with an emphatic 3-0 win over Angola in the final.
The tournament then ‘missed’ a year and was only staged again in 2014, with CAF deciding to swap the AFCON to odd-numbered years so that their main competition was not staged in the same years as the World Cup.
The third CHAN therefore only took place in 2014 in South Africa, a tournament which saw Libya emerge as surprise winners after they beat Ghana on penalties in the final.
The current qualification format assigns slots to each region of the continent in the following manner (including host nation): two slots each for North Zone and Zone West A; three slots each for Zone West B, Central Zone, Central-East Zone and Southern Zone.
The 2016 edition will be the first of three successive CHAN tournaments staged in East Africa, with Kenya and Ethiopia to host the 2018 and 2020 editions respectively.
The 2016 African