YAOUNDE, 17 January 2021 – Hosts, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, beat the Warriors of Zimbabwe, one-nil, in the opening game of the 2020 African Nations Championship also known as Total African Nations Championship (CHAN 2020).
Cameroonian attacker Banga scored the lone goal of the match at the 72nd minute to ensure that the home team would bag all three points of the opening game.
In the second game of the tournament in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, the Eagles of Mali beat the Stallions of Burkina Faso with the slimmest of margins as well: one-zero, to bag three points and tie for the top spot in Group A with Cameroon.
Malian striker Bagayoko score at the 70thminute of playi.
The tournament is being held belatedly. Ethiopia should have hosted the event from 4 to 25 April 2020, but bowed out of the running, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 13 April 2019, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) appointed Cameroon as substitute host.
Unlike the African Cup of Nations – which Cameroon has been desperate to host but failed to build the infrastructure required in time – only players who are based in their home countries can be fielded in CHAN tournaments.
Sixteen countries broken up into four groups of four each and based, in this case, in three cities (Yaounde, Douala and Victoria-Limbe) are in the starting blocks of the most prestigious tournament for locally-based African players.
Groupp A teams (Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mali and Zimbabwe) are based in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde.
Group B (Congo-Brazzaville, DR Congo, Libya and Niger) will play their knockout stage matches on the Reunification Stadium in Cameroon’s economic capital, Douala.
Group C teams (Morocco, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda) are also based in Douala but play at the newly-built Japoma Stadium.
Group D teams (Guinea, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia) are based in Victoria also known as Limbe.
After Saturday’s opening match in Yaounde, action moves Sunday to Group B based at Japoma Stadium in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital.
Libya will face Niger in the opening game at Japoma followed by and DR Congo taking on the Red Devils of Congo Brazzaville.
Twenty-four hours after, action will shift to the Reunification Stadium, where defending champions, the Atlas Lions of Morocco, will play their opening game against the Eagles of Togo.
Great Lakes member countries, Rwanda and Uganda will face off in the second and last game of the group on Monday at Japoma, located close to the village on the Libamba River where parts of the Hollywood masterpiece, Tarzan, King of the Jungle, was filmed.
Group D teams will play their opening games on Monday, 19 January 2020 at the Centenary Stadium in Victoria-Limbe.
In the first game, Zambia will take on Tanzania while Guinea will take on Namibia in the second.
Tunisia, which in January 2020, voluntarily withdrew from the tournament and was replaced by Libya, has been banned from participating in the next edition of the tournament scheduled to hold in 2022.