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Caf plans to expand CHAN


The Confederation of African Football (Caf) says that the number of teams taking part in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) will be increased from eight to sixteen from the next edition.

The maiden edition of the competition - meant only for home-based players - is currently being held in the Ivory Coast, with the 2011 tournament slated for Sudan.

"Caf has agreed to increase the number of the teams in the CHAN to 16 from the next edition in Sudan," Caf director of communications Suleiman Habuba told BBC Sport.

"A lot of federations were hesitant when the tournament was launched (in 2007) but they have changed their minds and now want to play in it."

Habuba said the decision would help raise the quality of the local leagues in countries and make games in the tournament more meaningful.

"The standard of play since this edition started last week has positively surprised many people about the standard of the leagues in Africa," Habuba said.

"So we think it is the right time and opportunity to cater for more teams and help the league to grow further.

"The expansion will add excitement and relevance to more group matches at each tournament from the next edition," he added.

The CHAN is played between national teams, but only players who are based in their home country's domestic league are be eligible.

Stars playing in Europe and even those who have moved to other African leagues are not be allowed to take part.

The tournament is being held every two years.