By Jacob Ajom, Cape Town
With effect from the 2014 edition of the African Nations Championship, CHAN, league competitions in the host countries will be suspended throughout the duration of the tournament.
The Confederation of African Football introduced the rule in a bid to ensure the local football federations and indeed, soccer fans in such countries concentrate on the CHAN tournament which is CAF’s second most important fiesta, second only to the African Nations Cup.
CAF Secretary General, Hicham El Aurouni told the media that while the continental football ruling body cannot stop all national leagues in the continent for the tournament, the league in the host country would have to be stopped until after the three-week fiesta.
Perhaps, the more fundamental innovation by CAF, as they make effort to improve the standard of the tournament is the directive to all football federations to suspend any club that refuses to release players for their national team going for the tournament.
Recalling the case of the South African Football Association which was refused players by Super Sport United and Orlando Pirates, El Aurouni said, ‘’henceforth, clubs will be forced to release players or risk suspension.’’
The CAF Executive also informed that having received FIFA’s endorsement, the tournament will now be used to rank national teams standing in the monthly Coca Cola FIFA ranking.