Based stars begin quest for African title in Morocco

Salaheddine Saidi of Morocco is challenged by Samba Moussa of Mauritania. BackpagePix

Salaheddine Saidi of Morocco is challenged by Samba Moussa of Mauritania. BackpagePix

THE African Nations Championships starts on Saturday night with the opening game between hosts Morocco and Mauritania.

CHAN is administered by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and is played between the best national teams of Africa, exclusively featuring players who are active in the national championships and qualified to play in the ongoing season.

The reigning champions, DR Congo, will not be at the tournament.

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Sixteen teams have been pooled into four groups to be based in four cities.

THE 2016 African Nations Championships were held in Rwanda. Libya are former champions, so they are no newcomers to the competition and for Equatorial Guinea, they will be coming with the players that played the World Cup qualifiers for them.

Why will they not be at the 2018 competition?

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The French tactician has included highly-rated attackers Karamoko Traore, Ely Samba Ould Voulany and Moulaye Ahmed Khalil, though rising star Moctar Salem Belal didn't make the cut.

"The year 2017 has witnessed the great awakening of Moroccan football and its return to the forefront of the continental and worldwide scenes", Sellami told MAP.

Saturday's match will be the first official global match between Morocco and Mauritania, according to FIFA's statistical database.

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