Final 14 tickets for CHAN 2018 up for grabs to join host Kenya, E.Guinea

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-18 21:53:36|Editor: Zhou Xin
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NAIROBI, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will know this weekend the other 14 teams that will join Equatorial Guinea for the finals of the African Nations Championship (CHAN), which will be hosted in 2018 in Nairobi.

Only hosts Kenya and Equatorial Guinea have got the assurance of qualification.

Equatorial Guinea was to face Gabon in the final qualifier of their group but the latter pulled out. The two teams now will join the other 14 who go through the final round of the qualifiers this weekend.

Kenya head coach Stanley Okumbi said he is preparing his side well and will take the under 19 side to Maputo for international friendly match before focusing on who will be his opponents during the CHAN finals, which takes place from January 12, to February 4, 2018 in Kenya.

Equatorial Guinea joined host Kenya for next year's finals following the withdrawal of Gabon.

Other teams battling for spots are holders DR Congo, aiming to become the only team to have participated at every edition of the tournament since its inception in 2009.

The Leopards are unarguably the most successful side in the history of the competition having won the title twice, 2009 (in Cote d'Ivoire) and 2016 (in Rwanda).

To achieve that, the Leopards must overcome neighbours Congo, also eyeing their second outing after their only participation at the 2014 edition in South Africa, where they failed to go past the group stage.

After a barren draw in the first leg last week in Brazzaville, the champions will be looking forward to complete the job in Kinshasa when they host 'Les Diables Rouges' on Saturday in the Central Zone qualifiers.

"I'm disappointed with the draw in Brazzaville. I was hoping to win there. I will rate the players seven out 10," said Zahera in an interview to Confederation of African Football (CAF).

In Yaounde, Cameroon are favoured to complete a double over Sao Tome to confirm their ticket to Kenya. However, one thing for sure is the fact that the winner of the Namibia - Comoros clash in Windhoek, will be making a debut at the final tournament.

After a 2-1 loss in the first leg in Moroni last week, at least a lone goal victory will be enough to see the Namibians qualifying for their first ever major continental championship since the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Other matches in the South Zone are Angola against Madagascar in Luanda and Zambia versus South Africa in Ndola both on Saturday.

In West B Zone, Ghana faces neighbours Burkina Faso in Kumasi. The two teams played out a 2-2 draw in Ouagadougou in the first leg.

Benin carries a lone goal advantage to Kano to face Nigeria while Cote d'Ivoire and Niger will clash in Abidjan.

Two places are at stake in the Central-East Zone where Rwanda faces Uganda in Kigali after a 3-0 loss in Kampala last week whilst Sudan battles Ethiopia in El Obeid.

Debutants Egypt will have a hard task to tame host Morocco in Rabat and Libya squares it out with Algeria in Sfax.

The final tournament will take place from 12 January to 4 February 2018 in Kenya.