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

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African Nations Championship 2014: Dates, Fixtures, Groups for CHAN
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The African Nations Championship begins a journey—that culminates with a Feb. 1 championship match—on Jan. 11. 

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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
Date Matchup Location
Jan. 11 RSA vs. MOZAMBIQUE Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 11 MALI vs. NIGERIA Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 12 ZIMBABWE vs. MOROCCO Athlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 12 UGANDA vs. BURKINA FASO Athlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 13 GHANA vs. CONGO Free State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 13 LIBYA vs. ETHIOPIA Free State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 14 RD CONGO vs. MAURITANIA Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 14 GABON vs. BURUNDI Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 15 RSA vs. MALI A Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 15 NIGERIA vs. MOZAMBIQUE Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 16 ZIMBABWE vs. UGANDA Athlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 16 BURKINA FASO vs. MOROCCO Athlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 17 GHANA vs. LIBYA Free State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 18 ETHIOPIA vs. CONGO Free State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 18 RD CONGO vs. GABON Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 18 BURUNDI vs. MAURITANIA Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 19 NIGERIA vs. RSA Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 19 MOZAMBIQUE vs. MALI A Athlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 20 BURKINA FASO vs. ZIMBABWE Athlone Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 20 MOROCCO vs. UGANDA Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 21 ETHIOPIA vs. GHANA Free State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 21 CONGO vs. LIBYA Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 22 BURUNDI vs. RD CONGO Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Jan. 22 MAURITANIA vs. GABON Free State Stadium, Mangaung
Quarterfinals
Date Matchup Location
Jan. 25 TBD Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 25 TBD Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Jan. 26 TBD Free State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 26 TBD Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Semifinals
Date Matchup Location
Jan. 29 TBD Free State Stadium, Mangaung
Jan. 29 TBD Free State Stadium, Mangaung
Third-Place Match
Date Matchup Location
Feb. 1 TBD Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Final
Date Matchup Location
Feb. 1 TBD Cape 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. 

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

Steve Haag/Getty Images

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

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