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CHAN 2018: Dates, Draw Schedule, Live Stream and Predictions

The 2018 African Nations Championship kicks off in Morocco on Saturday as 16 of the continent's best footballing countries prepare to duke it out in the name of continental bragging rights. Africa's second-tier international competition won't feature the same big names regularly seen in the African Cup of Nations, with this tournament reserved largely for players who play club football in their native lands. But that's not to say the spectacle will be lacking in entertainment value, making up for its perceived lack of prestige with a propensity for thrills and an open forum that tends to disregard favourite tags. Reigning champions the Democratic Republic of Congo will not be present to defend their crown after being beaten out of the qualification campaign by rivals Congo. Read on for live-stream information and key details heading into the 2018 African Nations Championship, complete with predictions for how this edition might shape up.             Start Date: Saturday, January 13 End Date: Sunday, February 4            Visit the official Confederation of African Football (CAF) website for a full breakdown of the draw schedule.  Viewers in South Africa and many other African countries can stream every match via SuperSport's online service, while audiences in the United States can watch most matches via beIN Sports Connect.             Super Eagles Soar to Top Group C As one of the most celebrated and successful nations in African football, Nigeria hold a certain responsibility to contend for top honours in tournaments such as this but sometimes struggle to match such expectations. Heading to host country Morocco, the pressure again weighs heavy on a homegrown group of Super Eagles, who announced their arrival at the competition on Tuesday: Goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa looks likely to play a big role for his side after saving a penalty in the tournament qualifier against Benin in August, while striker Anthony Okpotu also carries big hopes. Closer to the engine room, Kano Pillars man Rabiu Ali will be expected to provided a steadying presence in midfield as Nigeria attempt to top a Group C lineup that also includes Libya, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea. Topping that pool should be relatively simple for a country that consistently produces some of the best youth of any African nation, although coping with the pressure after that point will be a bigger chore.            Guinea Upset the Odds to Take Grand Prize It would be almost poetic if Guinea, the last team to seal their spot and qualify for the championship in August, were also the last side to leave and with a trophy in their hands. Not only did they advance to the tournament proper last summer but they did so by ending qualification with a 5-0 thumping of Senegal, overturning a 3-1 deficit from the first leg of their clash in sensational fashion. Despite the fact they will be without a bulk of their usual headliners, such as RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita and AS Saint-Etienne defender Florentin Pogba, Guinea have nevertheless selected a strong squad. As far as their Group A task goes, the odds look good after they drew the host nation, Sudan and Mauritania, the latter two of whom were among the weakest in the draw, while Morocco were the most favourable selection from Pot 1. From there, a potential quarter-final against Zambia or the Ivory Coast could be their most difficult match, with a clearer path from there out. A fourth-place finish at the 2016 tournament in Rwanda showed Guinea's second-string is evolving, and they could have the right trajectory to go all the way in Morocco.Read more World Football news on BleacherReport.com...

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Published By: Bleacher Report - Friday, 12 January, 2018







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