NO CHAN for Morocco Unable to fly to #Algeria from Aéroport Salé, two-time defending champions #Morocco have pulled out of #CHAN2023 due to political rows between both North African nations. Algeria closed its airspace to Moroccan aircraft in Aug 2021. pic. twitter. com/XjW11qBSAS — Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) January 13, 2023 #Morocco FA boss Lekjaa: “In the presence of Infantino & Motsepe, it's really a shame for the sport, to see the Moroccan team denied a chance to fly to Algeria. We’ve been preparing for #CHAN2023 for six months and we will not be able to defend our title. ” pic. com/SjdyDUCzke 🎙 | Le président de la CAF sur la non-participation du Maroc à la CHAN suite au refus des autorités algériennes.
CHAN 2023 match schedule, results, tables, teams for African Nations Championship and how AFCON is differentThe 2023 African Nations Championship, or CHAN for short, is being played in Algeria this January and we have our first two semifinalists. Hosts Algeria downed Ivory Coast on a stoppage-time penalty in the marquee matchup of the round, while Senegal used a first-half penalty to eliminate Mauritania. The event is officially labeled as a 2022 event, but it was pushed by six months due to a scheduling backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament, which has been expanded to feature 18 national teams made up exclusively of domestic-based players, is held every two years, alternating years with the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Despite the squad restriction (domestic players only), CHAN matches count as full internationals for player caps as well as in the calculation of the FIFA World Rankings. However, only 17 of the 18 teams that qualified for the 2023 event have been participating after two-time defending CHAN champions Morocco were not authorised to fly into Algeria. The issue stemmed from the tense relations and ongoing disputes between the neighboring countries which led to Algeria cutting diplomatic ties in 2021 and closing its airspace to Moroccan aircraft and air travel originating in the country.
The African Football Confederation (CAF) confirmed on January 16 that the competition format would not change without the defending champs. On January 14, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation condemned "the malicious acts and abject maneuvers" at the CHAN opening match (Algeria vs. Libya), making note of racist chants circulated on social media aimed at Moroccans, and a "provocative and surreal speech" delivered by Nelson Mandela's grandson, Mandla Mandela, in which he called for the liberation of Western Sahara, the subject of an ongoing dispute between Morocco and Algeria.
It's a showcase for players based in Africa with many earning transfers to major European clubs on the back of their performances in the tournament. The CHAN tournament differs from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in one major way, restricting team squads only to players currently plying their trade in their home country's domestic league. Therefore, for example, Riyad Mahrez is not eligible to play for Algeria, since he plays for Manchester City in England and not for an Algerian domestic club. The first CHAN tournament in 2009 featured just eight teams. However, the competition has since expanded to 16 in 2011 and now 18 for the current edition (prior to Morocco's withdrawal).