CAF President and Hall of Fame member Issa Hayatou has praised the standard of football displayed in the ongoing African Nations Championships (CHAN) taking place in South Africa at the moment.
The competition is angling towards the quarter final stages with some big players like Nigeria and Morocco safely through from their group stages.
“What is most pleasing is that none of these teams have had it easy and have come through scares against once weaker nations” he is reported to have said.
Unfortunately the host nation South Africa faltered again in the group stages, having left themselves with too much to do by the time they took on Nigeria in their final group game. The game ended 3-1 to the Nigerians in what was a big blow to the organisers and hosts South Africa.
But the President was consoled by the quality of the play and he was said to have expressed his contentment at the fact that many of the players at the tournament who have performed very well would not have had the chance if the competition was not formed.
CHAN is a competition exclusively reserved for African players in their respective local leagues as a way to boost the local game and a shop window for the locally produced talent of Africa. It is in its third edition.
Responding to a call that it be made for an age group of perhaps Under-23 in order to give a credible chance to the players of the tournament to be seen, scouted and picked up by teams in the big leagues, Hayatou stated “we have enough age-group competitions. We are the only confederation that organises a competition in each and every age grade – U17, U20 and we now have the U23 championships which also doubles as the Olympic qualifier. There is no point for CAF to put an age restriction on CHAN. It should be the prerogative of each federation to take into account the points raised and do what they think is best for them” he explained.