The TotalEnergies African Nations championship will be in its seventh edition when the competition kicks off in Algeria on January 13, 2023. The last six editions have served as a major turning point in the careers of some players, who have become a main component of their various national teams and plying their trade at the top level. In this piece we will look at some seven players whose careers were shaped by the CHAN, amongst them Morocco’s Jawad El Yamiq who is part the Atlas Lions history making side that reached the semifinals of the ongoing FIFA World cup in Qatar.
Jawad El Yamiq
Moroccan defender Jawad El Yamiq, was part of his countries squad at the 2018 CHAN. The then 25_year_old was in the books of Raja CA, Raja Casablanc, but secured a move to Italian side Genoa shortly after the competition.
Jawad now 30, has gone ahead to representing the Atlas Lions at the top level of football in the world, as he was part of Morocco’s history making side that reach the semifinals of the 2022 FIFA World cup in Qatar. His overhead kick nearly level scores against France. His rise to prominence from the CHAN to the world cup, is just one of the many success stories of how the African Nations championship has served as a turning point in the careers of many African footballers.
El Arabi Hilal Soudani
Algerian winger Hillal Soudani, was one of the standout performers at the TotalEnergies CHAN 2011 in Sudan, as his three goals helped Algeria finished fourth in the competition.
The then ASO Chlef forward was one of the players trusted for the competition by coach Abdelhak Benchikha. Soudani netted thrice in their group games against Uganda and Gabon, and went on to finishing as one of the top scorers, despite his goal drought for the remainder of the competition. CHAN 2011 was a stepping stone for the forward, who earned his first call up into the Algerian senior national team in May that year, and went on to netting 24 goals in 52 caps for the desert foxes.
The aftermath of CHAN 2011, also opened the doors of professional football for Soudani, who penned his first professional contract with Portuguese side Vitória de Guimarães in August that year. He went on to enjoy a lengthy career across Europe, with stints at Dinamo Zagreb, Nottingham Forest, and Olympiacos.
Tunisian winger Zouheir Dhaouadi, was named Best player of the TotalEnergies CHAN 2011. Before the competition, Dhaouadi was already a full Tunisian international, and had make four appearances the 2010 TotalEnergies AFCON.
His three goals helped Tunisia clinch the trophy in 2011, as he was on target against Angola in the final. In the aftermath of the competition, Zouheir Dhaouadi penned a deal with French outfit Évian Thonon Gaillard, though he later return to Club Africain in his home country. He has made 35 appearances for the Carthage Eagles, scoring five times.
Uganda’s attacking midfielder Farouk Miya, burst into the continental scene during the 2016 TotalEnergies African Nations championship in Rwanda while in the books of Vipers SC.
Though Uganda exited the competition at the group stage, Miya scored on of their three goals in the competition, and left an impressive mark, which later earned him a transfer to Belgian top tier side Standard Liège. Since then, he has represented the likes of Royal Excel Mouscron, HNK Gorica, Konyaspor, and Çaykur Rizespor. He has also won 58 caps for the Ugandan National team, with goals to his name.
Meschak Elia Lina
Congolese forward Meschak Elia, was instrumental in his country winning their second CHAN trophy in Rwanda 2016. Then in the books of TP Mazembe, the forward netted four times to finish top scorer and best player of the tournament.
His brilliant performance at the CHAN in Rwanda, was followed by a scintillating run in 2016 and 2017 with TP Mazembe, where he won the CAF super cup and the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation cup.
Despite interest from a host of European clubs, Elia stayed focus till 2020, when he completed a move to Belgian side BSC Young Boys.
Moumi Nicolas Brice Ngamaleu
Cameroon’s forward Moumi Ngamaleu, was one of the revelations of the 2016 CHAN. The then Cotonsport man scored just one goal during the competition as the intermediate lions bowed out at the quarter finals, but his individual brilliance was visible.
Ngamaleu quickly secured a move to SC Rheindorf Altach in Austria immediately after the 2016 CHAN, then made his debut with the Cameroon national team against Guinea on 28 March 2017, and was part of Cameroon’s squad for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
A move to BSC Young Boys in 2017, brought the best of the forward, who quickly became a key member of the Cameroon National team.
Ayoub El Kaabi
Moroccan forward Ayoub El Kaabi, is probably the best player in the history of the TotalEnergies African Nations championship. His nine goals in the 2018 edition of the competition on home soil, remains the record highest scored by any player in the history of the competition.
El Kaabi played a key role in Morocco winning their first CHAN trophy in 2018, during which he finished top scorer and best player of the competition.
A mega move to Chinese Super league side Hebei F.C followed immediately after the competition, but El Kaabi quickly returned to his native Morocco and join Wydad AC, and was again in Morocco’s squad for the 2020 edition in Cameroon. He scored three goals in the competition, including one against Mali in the finals, as Morocco claimed their second CHAN trophy.
After helping his country win their second CHAN, Ayoub El Kaabi completed a move to Turkish side Hatayspor. He has been a full Moroccan international since 2018, with over 23 caps.
Another CHAN is around the corner and yet another opportunity to discover fresh talents.
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