All is set for the final of the 2018 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) tournament in Morocco. The hosts have a final hurdle to scale if they are to win their first CHAN title. Standing in their way is Nigeria, who are also looking to win their first.
This is the fifth edition of the competition with North Africa winning two and sub-Saharan Africa also winning twice. Today’s final will put either side one win ahead.
This article tracks the journey of the Atlas Lions (Morocco) and the Super Eagles (Nigeria) looking at how they managed the group stages through to the knockout rounds. The stage is set in Casablanca. Will the Lions roar or will the Eagles soar?
— CAF (@CAF_Online) February 4, 2018
Morocco were pooled in Group A along with Sudan, Guinea and Mauritania. They secured two wins in the group drawing only with Sudan in the final group game. They topped the group with seven points and seven goals conceding one, against Guinea.
In the knockout rounds, they ended Namibia’s fairytale run with an emphatic 2 – 0 victory in the quarter-finals. They were made to work harder in the semi-finals after Libya forced the game in extra-time. The lions managed to get two goals to avoid shoot outs.
Nigeria qualified on similar statistics in the group stage. They drew goalless in their first game with Rwanda but managed two successive wins against Equatorial Guinea and Libya to top Group C with seven points, four goals conceding 1 against the Guineans.
A quarter-final date with Angola turned out to be a big test as they fell behind by a goal. In the end, they equalized and secured a winner to progress. Against Sudan in the semi-final, Nigeria scored but were reduced to 10 men after a red card. They managed to hold on to reach today’s final.
In the third place fixture on Saturday, Sudan and Libya played out a one – all draw after extra time. The Sudanese beat Libya 4 – 2 on penalties to clinch the third best team.
— CAF (@CAF_Online) February 3, 2018
The defending champions, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) failed to qualify to defend the title they won in 2016 in Rwanda. They are the record holders having won it twice – they won the maiden edition of CHAN in 2009 in Ivory Coast.
In the second edition of the tournament held in 2011 in Sudan, Tunisia emerged winners whiles the third edition in 2014 staged by South Africa was won by Libya.