Cape Town — After missing out on the last three African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournaments, South Africa have entered the 2022 version which will be hosted by Algeria in January 2023.
South Africa's Bafana Bafana will be one of 47 countries that have entered what will be the seventh edition of the continental competition that was launched in 2009 when it was hosted by the Ivory Coast. The qualifiers will kick off in July and 15 countries will join hosts Algeria for the 16-nation event.
Bafana Bafana have only played in the tournaments of 2011 (Sudan) and 2014 as the host nation. At the 2011 event, Bafana Bafana leached the quarter-finals and three years later bowed out at the end of the group stage.
The event is a second-tier biennial football tournament played under the auspices of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). It is reserved for players drawn exclusively from locally based clubs on the continent. It is played outside the regular FIFA window period and as a result, PSL clubs have refused to release players for the event in the past.
The qualifiers will be played when clubs are in the throes of pre-season training and perhaps clubs may only release fringe players. The bulk of the CHAN squad could come from First Division clubs.
The draw was scheduled for Friday, but CAF called it off and did not offer an explanation.
Their statement read: “The TotalEnergies Chan Algeria 2023 qualification draw initially scheduled for Friday, 29 April 2022 has been postponed.
“Caf will communicate new dates in due course. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
The 47 teams in the draw are:
Unaf, Northern Zone (1 place + Algeria): Libya, Morocco
Wafu A, Zone West A (2 places): Cape Verde Islands, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea -Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone.
Wafu B, Zone West B (3 places): Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria, Togo.
Uniffac (3 places): Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé e Príncipe.
Cecafa (3 places): Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
Cosafa (3 places): Angola, Botswana, Comoros Islands, Eswatini, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe