March 31, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jr.
The Sierra Leone home-based national team will know their opponents in the fourth edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers on Sunday when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) conducts the draw at their headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.
Sierra Leone is pooled in Zone West A, which comprises of Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. Only two teams will qualify from the West Area Zone A for the finals in Rwanda next year.
Already, Rwanda has secured the first qualifying ticket as host nation whilst 42 others will battle for the remaining spots.
According to CAF, there will be two rounds each in the qualifiers except for the Northern Zone, where the three teams will play each other on a round-robin basis with the top two qualifying for the tournament.
The qualifiers will start from the weekend of 19-21 June through to 28-30 August 2015 where 15 teams will emerge to join host Rwanda for the finals, which will play from 16 January to 7 February 2016.
Previous winners of the CHAN – a tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues – are DR Congo (2009), Tunisia (2011) and Libya (2014).
How the teams are pooled:
*Northern Zone (2 spots) – Libya, Morocco, Tunisia
*Zone West A (2 spots) – Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone
*Zone West B (3 spots) – Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Togo
*Central Zone (3 spots) – Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Chad, DR Congo, Gabon
*Central-East Zone (3 including hosts) – Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
*Southern Zone (3 spots) – Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Mauritius, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe