Why Africa needs Chan – SuperSport (blog)

11 months ago Comments Off on Why Africa needs Chan – SuperSport (blog)

For obvious reasons, nations like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Libya will tell you that the African Championship (Chan) is one of the most important tournaments in the world, just as nations who did not qualify or lost out early could understandably tell you that it is not so important.

Having experienced it first hand, I can safely tell you that this championship is a very useful one that could serve African nations in different ways and needs investment.

I asked a close friend of mine who the last winner of the Chan (in 2014) was, and he could not answer. Not even after three attempts!

You can imagine his surprise when I told him it was Libya and not one of the top African big guns.

The African Championships is a CAF-organised event that restricts participation to only players who play in the local leagues in Africa.

Automatically it pitches the strengths of one local league against the other. Once a player is based away from home, even in another African nation, he is ineligible to play.

Fifa, the world’s governing body, has now officially recognised this tournament, which means it can help them climb up the Fifa rankings.

This alone makes this championship worthwhile for every African nation.

However, in my view, the ultimate goal of Chan should be to help development and provide desperately needed exposure to young and upcoming home-based stars internationally.

In as much as we as Nigerians were disappointed with our early exit from the 2016 Chan, it is worth noting that this event gave us the opportunity to evaluate the international value of our players and eventually help us discover players to upgrade to the Super Eagles proper.

As we share thoughts, two of our players from the Chan squad are heading abroad to play professional football with lucrative contracts.

Uganda sold one player to Belgian champions Anderlecht and I believe more are set to move in the summer from other African nations present at Chan.

Chan, therefore, offers a great opportunity for African nations to showcase their young and upcoming stars to the world football market and the eventual added benefits it brings to the players individually and the nation as a whole cannot be ignored.

Chan gives the opportunity to relatively smaller nations to host senior major events and show their hospitality to the world.

Rwanda, hosts of the 2016 edition, did an exceptional job with this as the playing conditions were great, the people were so friendly, hospitality was at a high level and that would definitely improve their tourism market.

On the flight back I was fortunate to fly with three scouts who had come from Europe .They were disappointed though as they expected to see younger players in action, but regrettably were met with many players above 25.

I personally was pleased to see four of my players on their list of discoveries though, two of them have now promised their future to other foreign clubs.

Of course, every nation came to Rwanda with the hope of going back home with the trophy. Forget any other argument, but I feel it should be an added bonus and not the paramount objective. Producing players to win the Afcon proper should be paramount.

It therefore would be interesting for African nations to favour development with an added goal of winning through to Chan.

Chan is necessary for African nations to weigh the strength of their local leagues as a whole and the Democratic Republic of Congo were deserved winners.

When one takes into consideration the impact Congolese club sides have on the African continental scene, led by TP Mazembe, it further emphasises this point.

Africa needs Chan!

Why Africa needs Chan – SuperSport (blog)