February 4 – Morocco will have the chance to retain their African Nations Championship (CHAN) title against Mali in Sunday’s final after the defending champions stormed past hosts Cameroon with a 4-0 victory in the semi-finals.
In Limbe, Cameroon hosted Morocco in the heavyweight last-four contest of the tournament that unites Africa’s domestic-based players, but the hosts were no match for a team with players who often compete in the Champions League and the Confederation Cup.
Goals from Soufiane Rahimi, a brace, Soufiane Bouftini and Mohammed Ali Bemammer ensured a thumping 4-0 win for the Moroccans. “It was a little difficult for us from the start, but things got better when we scored the first goal,” said Morocco coach Houcine Ammouta.
It is the first time that a country reaches the final of CHAN consecutively. The Moroccans won the tournament on home foil in 2018 when they cruised past Nigeria 4-0 in the final in Casablanca.
They will defend their crown if they can defeat Mali in this weekend’s final.
In the early semi-final, the Malians squeezed past Guinea on penalties after extra-time. In an evenly-balanced match, neither side managed to break the deadlock inside 120 minutes, and even from the penalty spot there was little that separated the two sides. Goalkeeper Djigui Diarra, with a save, and Mamadou Coulibaly, converting the deciding penalty, became the heroes for Mali in a tense shoot-out.
It is the second time Mali will play the CHAN final. In 2016, they lost 3-0 to DR Congo.
Cameroon and Guinea will have to settle for the third-place playoff on Saturday.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1614760639labto1614760639ofdlr1614760639owedi1614760639sni@o1614760639fni1614760639