February 8 – Morocco became the first team to retain the African Nations Championship (CHAN) after a 2-0 win against Mali in the final.
The Malians, who had eliminated Guinea in the last four, were formidable opposition, but Morocco prevailed with second-half goals from both Soufiane Bouftini and Ayoub El Kaabi. Mali finished the final with ten men after the dismissal of Issaka Samake for a second yellow card.
Mali began the match as the most proactive team, but Morocco responded when Bouftini found the breakthrough in the 69th minute with a header from a Omar Namsaoui corner. El Kaabi then added a second to ensure Morocco of the title. The striker also played in a key role in 2018 when the North Africans won the competition on home soil, defeating Nigeria 4-0 in the final.
The match was played at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde in front of a socially-distanced crowd of 6,700 fans that included reinstated CAF president Ahmad Ahmad. The controversial Ahmad featured in the trophy presentation alongside Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto’o.
The final wrapped up the first major international tournament during the coronavirus pandemic. The CHAN passed off without major incidents on the field and served as a test run for the host nation. Cameroon is due to host the Africa Cup of Nations next year when it will be played in an expanded 24-team format.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1614761741labto1614761741ofdlr1614761741owedi1614761741sni@o1614761741fni1614761741