In Times Sport’s series of highlighting countries that will be participating in CHAN 2016, today we profile teams in Group B comprised of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cameroon, Ethiopia and Angola.
All group B matches will be played at Huye Stadium, a newly refurbished 10.000-seat arena in South Province.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a great footballing nation on the continent. At this year’s tournament, DRC from Group B and Zimbabwe from Group D are the only countries to have featured in the past three editions since the inaugural showpiece in 2009 in Ivory Coast.
Neighbouring Rwanda on western frontier, the Central African country is one of the top favourites to win the tournament.
Former champions DR Congo have never been dismissed from group stages. After overpowering Ghana in a 2-0 thriller to win the 2009 tournament, Congo didn’t do much in the following two editions but still managed to reach quarter-finals. They were knocked out by Tunisia in 2011 while Ghana sent them packing at the 3rd edition in 2014 in South Africa.
11th-placed in Africa and 60th globally in latest FIFA rankings released last week, DRC will open the quest for second CHAN title on January 17 against Ethiopia; they will play Angola next on 21st before rounding up the group stage against Cameroon four days later.
Making their second appearance at the biennial continental meet, Cameroon are the highest ranked team in this month’s FIFA rankings from Group B, 9th in Africa and 57th worldwide and hence should be a threat to anyone.
Les Lions Indomptables of Cameroon have no big history in CHAN compared to archrivals DRC, they have only been in this tournament once before (2011) and were also brushed aside by Angola in quarter-finals 8-7 on finals after playing out a goalless draw in regular time. Will that serve as an inspiration to do better this time round, time will tell.
Cameroon will kick off the bid for first CHAN title against on Angola on January 17, play Ethiopia next on January 21st before squaring off with DR Congo four days later in their final group game.
Angola will also be marking the second appearance at the Africa’s second biggest football event behind AFCON.
They are currently ranked 105th in FIFA and 29th in Africa. Can the Southern Africa nation upset better positioned group opponents?
Angola are the ones who eliminated Cameroon from the 2011 competition, so the later will be seeking revenge since none of the two was at the 2014 edition for a rematch. In 2011, Cameroon beat DR Congo in the group stage.
The Palancas Negras of Angola will begin their bid for CHAN glory facing Cameroon on January 17, then Congo in the second group match four days later before wrapping up preliminary stages against Ethiopia on January 25.
The Walias of Ethiopia have also been in this tournament before and can’t be undermined despite being ranked 118th worldwide.
Ethiopia and DR Congo are the only group B nations who were in South Africa two years ago. Ethiopia, who were making their debut at the prestigious event, had a disappointing performance and will be in Rwanda for redemption. They suffered an early exit at the group stage after finishing bottom of group C that also included Ghana, Libya and Congo-Brazzaville.
Ethiopia will open their CHAN account taking on the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, then Cameroon on January 21 and wind up group stage against Angola on January 25.