The 2014 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) kicks off this Saturday 11th of January in Cape Town, South Africa in what will be the third edition of the tournament. AllSports.com.gh brings you a preview of the teams competing in the tournament, with a group by group analysis.
We started by taking you through extensive analysis Group A, which contains hosts South Africa, Mozambique, Mali and Nigeria.
In the second installment of our series, we have a look at Group B, which comprises of Burkina Faso, Morocco, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Burkina Faso will be making their first appearance at the tournament in South Africa.
The Stallions are coming into the tournament off the back of an unimpressive outing at the recently held WAFU Cup, in which they failed to qualify out of a group containing hosts Ghana, Benin and Sierra Leone.
They beat fellow West African side Togo 3-1 over two legs in the preliminary Round of the qualifiers, then went on to dramatically edge Niger 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 aggregate scoreline in the next round to qualify for the tournament.
Coach Paul Put, who led the mainstream Burkinabe side to silver medals at the last Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, will be eying to go one better with this team as he returns to South Africa.
Below is the 23-man squad Put has called up for the tournament.
Goalkeepers : 1 Mohamed KABORE, ASFA Y, 2 Laré Mohamed DIARRA, AS SONABEL, 3 Abdoul Kader KOBRE, MAJESTIC
Defenders :4 Issouf DAYO, EFO, 5 Ousséni YEYE, USFA, 6 N’Bah KONE, RCB, 7 Alassane SANGO, ASFA-Y, 8 Saïdou SIMPORE, RCK, 9 Issa GUOUO, SANTOS FC, 10 Yaya COULIBALY, ASFA-Y
Midfielders : 11 Aboubacar Sidiki BARRO, EFO, 12 Elizée Demankel TO, ASFA-Y, 13 Aliassou SANOU, AS SONABEL, 14 Valentin ZOUNGRANA, EFO, 15 Eric TRAORE, USO, 16 Issouf KABORE, EFO, 17 Aboubacar Sidiki TRAORE, SANTOS FC, 18 Cyrille Barros BAYALA, ASFA-Y, 19 Oumarou NEBIE, ASFA-Y
Strikers: 20 ILias TIENDREBEOGO, ASFA-Y, 21 Aboubacar NIMI, EFO, 22 Francis KABORE, SANTOS FC, 23 Bassirou OUEDRAOGO, ASFA-Y
Zimbabwe will be making their third successive CHAN appearance.
The warriors failed to to make in out of their Group containing Ghana, Congo DR and Libya on their first appearance in 2009, failing to win a single game in three outings and eventually placing third.
They were back in the 2011 edition in Sudan, this time managing a single win, but that was not enough to save them from elimination in a group containing South Africa, Niger and Ghana.
En route to qualifying for this tournament, they knocked out a strong Zambian side with a 1-0 aggregate score, beating the Chipololo at their own backyard in the decider. This was after they had cruised to a 4-1 aggregate victory over Mauritius in the first round of qualifying.
Coach Ian Gorowa has been hailed for instilling belief in the boys, translating into some solid performances since he took over in July.
Below is the 23-man squad for the tournament.
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Dynamos), Tafadzwa Dube (CAPS United), Munyaradzi Diya (Highlanders) Defenders: Oscar Machapa (Dynamos) , Hardlife Zvirekwi (CAPS United) , Augustine Mbara (Dynamos), Milton Ncube (Highlanders) , Felix Chindungwe (Chicken Inn), Themba Ndlovu (Dynamos) , Eric Chipeta (Hwange), Partson Jaure (Dynamos)
Midfielders: Masimba Mambare (Highlanders), Tawanda Muparati (Dynamos) , Danny Phiri (Chicken Inn), Pascal Manhanga (Triangle), Charles Sibanda (FC Platinum), Kuda Mahachi (Chicken Inn), Ali Sadiki, (FC Platinum), Peter Moyo (Highlanders), Donald Ngoma (FC Platinum)
Strikers: Simba Sithole (How Mine), Nelson Maziwisa (FC Platinum), Simba Sithole (Dynamos)
The Cranes of Uganda will be making their second CHAN appearance this month after participating in the 2011.
They failed to win a single game at the tournament in Sudan two years ago, conceding five goals in three games to Gabon, Algeria and Sudan.
The Ugandans, coached by Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic, qualified for this edition of the tournament by hammering Tanzania 4-1 over two legs. They are expected to be sharp off the blocks, given that they recently (a month ago) participated competitively in the CECAFA Cup where they made a run to the quarter final.
They kick off their campaign at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town against Burkina Faso on January 12. Below is Uganda's 23-man squad for the championship.
Goalkeepers: Benjamin Ochan (SCVU), Ismail Watenga (SC Vipers), Ali Kimera (SCVU)
Defenders: Ronnie Kisseka (KCCA) (Capt.) Denis Iguma (SCVU), Martin Mpuga (SCVU), Richard Kasaga (Kira Young), Isaac Muleme (SCVU), Savio Kabugo (SCVU), Rogers Aloro (KCCA)
Midfielders: Julius Ntambi (Kira Young), Saidi Kyeyune (URA), Allan Kyambade (Express), Vincent Kayizzi (SC Vipers), Yasser Mugerwa (SCVU), Brian Majwega (KCCA), Ivan Ntege (KCCA), Mpande Joseph (SC Vipers), Hassan Waswa (KCCA).
Forwards: Crespo Asiku (Bul FC), Francis Olaki (Soana), Simon Okwi (SCVU), Yunus Sentamu (SC Vipers)
Despite making their first ever CHAN appearance, there seems to be a lot of expectations on the chances of the Moroccans, coached by Hassan Benabicha.
That could be because they are the reason why 2011 CHAN champions Tunisia failed to make this tournament. The Atlas Lions edged them out in qualifying, winning 1-0 on aggregate (their win, rather impressively, happened away at the Stade Olympique de Sousse in Tunisia).
Aside this, their squad (seven out of the 23 players called up) is made up of mostly players of Raja Casablanca , who made huge strides at the recent FIFA Club World Cup by placing second.
Their opening game is nicely set up against Zimbabwe - another team with massive expectations preceding them - on Sunday January 12 at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town. Below is their 23-man squad in full.
Goalkeepers: Nadir Lamyaghri (WAC), Mohamed El Youssfi (MAT), Khalid El Askri (Raja)
Defenders : Adil Sasaa (DHJ), Zakaria El Hachimi (Raja), Mohamed Aberhoun (MAT), Mohamed Saidi (WAC), Mohamed Oulhaj (Raja), Ahmed Chagou (DHJ), Adil Karrouchy (Raja)
Midfielders: Anas Asbahi (WAC), Issam Erraki (Raja), Said Fettah (WAC), Abderrahim Achchakir (AS FAR), Mohsine Moutaouali (Raja), Walid Karti (WAC), Abdessamad El Mbarki (CRA), Zyed Kerrouch (MAT), Rafik Abdessamad (OCS)
Forwards: Zakaria Hadraf (DHJ), Mouhssine Iajour (Raja), Brahim El Bahri (FUS), Abdelkabir El Ouady (WAF)
Prediction: 1. Morocco 2. Zimbabwe 3. Burkina Faso 4. Uganda.