calendar, qualified … Morocco’s package, a headache for CAF

Morocco U23

Even if he was careful not to pronounce this word, the Morocco has officially withdrawn for the CHAN 2022 Friday following Algeria’s refusal to allow the Atlas Lions to reach Constantine on a direct flight. This package endorsed on the very day of the opening match of the competition inevitably places the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in trouble.

Indeed, the pan-African body had decided to innovate this year by increasing the number of CHAN participants at 18. This increase resulted in three groups of 4 teams each generating 2 qualified for the quarter-finals and two groups of 3 teams each offering only one ticket for the quarter-finals. Following Morocco’s package, the structure of the tournament is turned upside down since we now find ourselves with three groups of 3 teams and a ticket for the quarters to be “redistributed”.

Group C “advantaged”?

If a team withdraws before the start of the final tournament after having obtained its qualification, it is replaced by the team which follows it in the classification of its group. Otherwise, the group to which the forfeiting team belongs will consist of three teams“, says Article 86 of the CHAN rules. Rather than turning everything upside down and decreeing, for example, that the best 2e among the three groups of 3 teams, will qualify, CAF should therefore, on reading the regulations, decide to maintain the 2 qualifying places of group C, now composed only of Ghana, Madagascar and Sudan. A questionable point of view in terms of sporting fairness since the 2nd in group C will not necessarily be more deserving than the 2nd in groups D and E…

Another problem: the authority will obviously not be able to do anything to fill the gaping hole left by Morocco’s package. Indeed, on Sunday, only one match will be on the program, Madagascar-Ghana. And it will be the same for the 2e and 3e days of group C. While CAF had decided to combine the only match of group D and group E on the same day of competition, the body now finds itself with three “hollow” days which are clearly not good for the marketing point of view…

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