The opening round of group games at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon concluded on Tuesday with convincing Group D victories for Guinea and Zambia, after what had been a low-scoring start to the tournament.
The CHAN, which was originally set to take place in April 2020, is specifically for African players based in their own domestic leagues. Before the Group D openers, there had been four 1-0 victories across Groups A to C and two goalless draws.
In front of a limited number of spectators, Zambia defeated Tanzania 2-0 on Tuesday in Limbe thanks to a Collins Sikombe penalty and a late strike from Emmanuel Chabula.
In the late kick-off, Guinea went above Zambia at the top of Group D with a 3-0 win against Namibia. There were two goals for Yakhouba Barry with Morlaye Sylla also on the scoresheet.
The next Group D matches are on Saturday as Zambia face Guinea and Namibia play Tanzania. In Group C, Yahya Jabrane converted a retaken penalty on Monday to give holders Morocco a 1-0 victory over Togo in Douala.
Rwanda and Uganda drew 0-0 in the late Group C kick-off. Morocco will continue the defence of their title on Friday against Rwanda with Uganda taking on Togo.
On Sunday, Chico Ushindi scored just after half-time to give the Democratic Republic of Congo a 1-0 win over Congo Brazzaville Sunday and take an early lead in Group B.
Libya and Niger drew 0-0 in their opening Group B match. On Thursday in Group B two former champions meet as DR Congo play Libya while Niger are up against Congo.
Hosts Cameroon opened the delayed CHAN on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe. Salomon Banga scored the Group A match-winner 18 minutes from time.
The hosts are level with Mali at the top of the standings after Mali’s 1-0 win over Burkina Faso. Hosts Cameroon face Mali and Zimbabwe take on Burkina Faso in Wednesday’s Group A games.
Zimbabwe came into the tournament amidst a Covid-19 crisis and their coach, Zdravko Logarusic admitted it has been “a very difficult situation.”
“I couldn’t turn to anyone for advice or help because no one had ever experienced this,” Logarusic said. “Covid-19 affected us with nine of our players infected alongside some members of the staff.
“With 10 training sessions, we came to play an international tournament. In 10 training sessions you can’t even prepare properly even if you’re a club.
“When I was in charge of Sudan in 2018 for the CHAN in Morocco, I had the team for two months in camp, we went to three countries and played six international friendlies.”
Results so far:
Cameroon 1-0 Zimbabwe
Mali 1-0 Burkina Faso
Libya 0-0 Niger
DR Congo 1-0 Congo
Morocco 1-0 Togo
Uganda 0-0 Rwanda
Zambia 2-0 Tanzania
Guinea 3-0 Namibia