World Football

African Nations Championship 2014: Dates, Fixtures, Groups for CHAN

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JUNE 20:  Stephen Keshi head coach of Nigeria looks on prior to the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group B match between Nigeria and Uruguay at Estadio Octavio Mangabeira (Arena Fonte Nova Salvador) on June 20, 2013 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2014

The African Nations Championship begins a journey—that culminates with a Feb. 1 championship match—on Jan. 11. 

In all, there are 16 teams in this tournament. Those 16 teams will be broken up into four groups in a traditional tournament format. South Africa will host the event this time around, and the matches will take place in four different venues. 

The group matches will run until Jan. 22 and the knockout stage will begin with quarterfinal play on Jan. 25. 

The last time this event was held it came in Sudan in 2011. Tunisia beat Angola, 3-0, to take the top spot in the second installment of the competition. In the inaugural event in 2009, the Ivory Coast hosted and Congo DR defeated Ghana, 2-0, to take the title.

Here is the schedule for this event:   

Fixtures Schedule
Group Stage
DateMatchupLocation
Jan. 11RSA vs. MOZAMBIQUECape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 11MALI vs. NIGERIACape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 12ZIMBABWE vs. MOROCCOAthlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 12UGANDA vs. BURKINA FASOAthlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 13GHANA vs. CONGOFree State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 13LIBYA vs. ETHIOPIAFree State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 14RD CONGO vs. MAURITANIAPeter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 14GABON vs. BURUNDIPeter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 15RSA vs. MALI ACape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 15NIGERIA vs. MOZAMBIQUECape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 16ZIMBABWE vs. UGANDAAthlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 16BURKINA FASO vs. MOROCCOAthlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 17GHANA vs. LIBYA Free State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 18ETHIOPIA vs. CONGOFree State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 18RD CONGO vs. GABONPeter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 18BURUNDI vs. MAURITANIAPeter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 19NIGERIA vs. RSACape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 19MOZAMBIQUE vs. MALI AAthlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 20BURKINA FASO vs. ZIMBABWEAthlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 20MOROCCO vs. UGANDACape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 21ETHIOPIA vs. GHANAFree State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 21CONGO vs. LIBYAPeter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 22BURUNDI vs. RD CONGOPeter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 22MAURITANIA vs. GABONFree State Stadium, Mangaung
Quarterfinals
DateMatchupLocation
Jan. 25TBDCape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 25TBDCape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 26TBDFree State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 26TBDPeter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Semifinals
DateMatchupLocation
Jan. 29TBDFree State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 29TBDFree State Stadium, Mangaung
Third-Place Match
DateMatchupLocation
Feb. 1TBDCape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Final
DateMatchupLocation
Feb. 1TBDCape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Source: cafonline.com

 

Tournament Overview 

Nigeria are a newcomer to this event, but they should be looked upon as the favorites. Nigeria won the more prestigious Cup of Nations about a year ago. Still, they are far from a lock. 

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 14: Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi with the trophy after the 2013 Nelson Mandela Challenge match between South Africa and Nigeria at Moses Mabhida Stadium on August 14, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gall
Anesh Debiky/Getty Images

Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi was rushed to put this team together, and he is not exactly exuding confidence. The BBC passed along this quote from Keshi

It is not possible to build a team for a major championship in three weeks—not even Fabio Capello or Arsene Wenger can do that. However, I know the boys are physically and mentally prepared for what lies ahead and are ready to make Nigerians proud.

Host nation South Africa also have to be confident over their chances. In a tournament like this, which isn't exactly the most important date on the soccer calendar, it is always dangerous to underestimate the importance of home-pitch advantage. 

Mali is also sure to be a factor. The team can boast arguably the best goalkeeper in the tournament with Soumaila Diakite

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 02: Soumaila Diakite, goal keeper of Mali, saves a shot from Dean Furman of South Africa during the 2013 African Cup of Nations Quarter-Final match between South Africa and Mali at Moses Mahbida Stadium on February 02, 2013
Steve Haag/Getty Images

In the end, however, this tournament is wide open. 

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