The president of the Confederation of African Football, Issa Hayatou, has expressed the best confidence concerning the classification of the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
Hayatou says he is yet to see the official report, but is confident that FIFA have decided to pass CHAN as an A-level tournament.
“I have not seen the letter yet, but all the reports made to me by the GS (General-Secretary Hisham-El Amrani) and even the Vice-President of Caf Almamy Kabele Camara attest that Fifa has issued a letter that Chan is already recognised as an A-level competition,” Hayatou said after arriving in Cape Town for the opening of the third edition of the Chan competition on Saturday.
“I will be seeing the letter today and I can already confirm that it is done because I trust my collaborators.”
Fifa had previously indicated that no world ranking points would be awarded for the continental showpiece, but successful talks between the world football’s governing body and the Caf resulted to a backpedaling on such decision.
With ranking points set to be accorded to the biennial championship, Hayatou is optimistic of an improved reputation on the global stage.
“This competition was created to emulate African youth because most of the player who take part in the Africa Cup of Nations are foreign based players,” Hayatou, speaking through an interpreter said.
“We decided to create this competition to enable those who are locally-based, to be proud to play at home and have a space where they can improve.
“At the level of the executive committee (of CAF), we are quite sure that in 10 years time, the Chan will be as big as the Africa Cup of Nations.”
The CHAN championship is organised for players in various domestic leagues across the continent. Players who ply their trade abroad, regardless of where, even in Africa, are not eligible for participation.
The 2014 edition, which is the third since its inception in 2009, starts today. South Africa play against Mozambique before debutantes Nigeria take on Mali, both matches to played at the Cape Town Stadium.
“I wish good luck to all the teams playing in the tournament,” the Caf President said on his parting note.