African Nations Championship

The CAF African Nations Championship (French: Championnat d’Afrique des Nations), sometimes referred to as the African Championship of Nations, CHAN, or Total African Nations Championship for sponsorship reasons is a football tournament that was first announced on 11th September 2007.

It is administered by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and is played between the best national teams of Africa, exclusively featuring players who are active in the national championships and qualified to play in the ongoing season.

Expatriate players, regardless of where they play, even in Africa, are not qualified to take part in the tournament.

The first tournament was held in 2009. It was hosted by Ivory Coast and won by DR Congo.

The competition was expanded to 16 teams for the second tournament, held in Sudan in 2011. The tournament was won by Tunisia, in the wake of the Tunisian Revolution.

The tournament is now held every two years, alternating with the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).


The creation of the African Nations Championship was a response to the desire to revive and strengthen national competitions regularly weakened by a mass exodus of top players who leave their home countries to play for foreign teams that will pay more and get them more media coverage.

Starting from the 2014 edition onwards, all of the matches are recognized by FIFA as first-team matches.


The eight tournament spots, for the first edition in 2009, were allocated the following way:

These zones are determined basis their regions in Africa.

  • One each for North Zone, Zone West A, Zone West B, Centre Zone and Central-East Zone
  • Two for the Southern Zone
  • One for the host country of the final tournament

Since the second edition, in 2011, 16 teams qualify for the tournament, allocated this way (including host country):

  • 2 each for North Zone and Zone West A
  • 3 each for Zone West B, Central Zone, Central-East Zone and Southern Zone

Tournament format

The group stage of the African Nations Championship features pools of four teams drawn at random. The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage.

On 8th March 2009, the Democratic Republic of the Congo defeated Ghana 2–0 to become the first winner of the tournament.