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CHAN: Highlights, standings and players after three matches

The group stage is complete at the African Nations Championship and the third round of matches was an absolute treat to watch. Drama in groups that previously featured few goals inspired teams to be more adventurous. As a result we saw the highest scoring match in CHAN history between Morocco and Uganda as well as other thrillers with multiple goals. Pan-Africa Football runs through the results as well as linking to the highlights and providing a featured player from each group.

Group A

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Matchday 3 Results

Cameroon 0-0 Burkina Faso  (Highlights)
Mali 1-0 Zimbabwe  (Highlights)

Featured Player

Hassana Mamoudou- Cameroon (Coton Sport)

Mali’s full-backs and their impact at both shutting down opposition flank players and initiating attacks has been documented here, but the wide defenders for the hosts have been the standout performers on the Intermediate Lions to make up for an anemic attack. Left-back Serge Andoulo is more defensive oriented but Hassana Mamoudou has been excellent playing both ways down the right flank. The 21-year-old Coton Sport defender has a lanky frame and long strides that allow him to win physical battles against smaller wingers while being able to keep up with them adequately. Mamoudou’s ability to get forward and well-measured crossing is his best attribute and the clip below highlights the attacking instincts potential suitors will like:

Group B

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Matchday 3 Results

Congo 1-0 Libya  (Highlights)
DR Congo 2-1 Niger  (Highlights)

Featured Player

Abdoul Darankoum- Niger (US Gendermerie)

Darankoum is an intriguing prospect who has adjusted well to the level of play at the CHAN at the age of 18. The central midfielder gained some preparation for this stage by competing against JS Kabylie for Nigerien champions US Gendermerie in CAF club competition earlier this month. While he struggled along with his overpowered teammates to assert himself on that occasion the central midfielder has no problem embracing confrontation and being a thorn in the side of his opponents now. His sense of knowing when to spring into action sticks out in the clip below:

At this point Darankoum needs to develop his knowledge of when to take more chances with his passing. His pass completion rate ended with a very good 88% but he failed to offer much going forward or consistently show the vision required to break down defenses from deeper. However, Darankoum’s instincts show promise when he plays the ball under duress. The clip below shows how excellent he can be at not only winning the ball but quickly distributing to playmakers, an area his team was unfortunately lacking in.

Group C

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Matchday 3 Results

Morocco 5-2 Uganda  (Highlights)
Rwanda 3-2 Togo  (Highlights)

Featured Player

Lague Byiringiro- Rwanda (Armée Patriotique Rwandaise [APR FC])

Fans of the Amavubi were screaming for coach Vincent Mashami to show a little more adventure and attacking initiative with his tactics and finally the coach and team responded in Rwanda’s 3-2 comeback win over Togo. A major difference between the Togo victory and Rwanda’s previous sleep-inducing 0-0 draws was the introduction of attacker Lague Byiringiro. Operating as a starter for his first tournament appearance on the left flank, Byiringiro shows a bit of variety and an effortless grace on the ball that leads him to progressive runs and the drawing of fouls due to his keen sense on the ball. The first couple of runs in the clip below show why this just turned 20-year-old is worth keeping an eye on and might make Rwanda more of a threat in the quarter-finals than most of their tournament performance indicates:

Group D

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Matchday 3 Results

Namibia 0-0 Zambia  (Highlights)
Tanzania 2-2 Guinea  (Highlights)

Featured Player

Collins Sikombe– Zambia (NAPSA Stars)

How the Chipolopolo’s offense flows leans very heavily on their 24-year-old playmaker Collins Sikombe and the connection he has with striker Emmanuel Chabula. The chemistry between the two was on full display in Zambia’s opening match against Tanzania. The offense has cooled quite a bit in subsequent games but Sikombe’s ability to make something out of nothing by dribbling through traffic or picking out a pass will keep defenses on high alert. Perhaps we haven’t seen Sikombe’s best this tournament but the clip below shows how he is one of the best playmakers on display in Cameroon:

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