10 September 2017 08:21
The stage is set for the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations which will be held in Ghana between the 9th and 24th of September 2017 as 16 teams vie for the right to be the best in the sub-region as well as the $100,000 prize-money at stake.
The WAFU Cup of Nations is a football competition contested by teams from Africa and this year's edition is the fifth of the regional competition.
It was first held in 2002 in Coe d’Ivoire as a collation and re-launching of previous competitions, such as the West African Nations Cup, the CEDEAO Cup and the Amilcar Cabral Cup. Sadly, the first tournament was cancelled after just two matches due to the outbreak of a civil war in Cote d’Ivoire.
The WAFU Cup of Nations was only played again in 2010, with the tournament taking place in Nigeria. The Super Eagles claimed the trophy on home soil after defeating Senegal 2-0 in the final.
The WAFU competition returned to Nigeria the following year, but this time ‘Les Ecureuils’ of Togo got the better of the hosts in the final to claim the title.
In 2013, the WAFU Cup of Nations was played in Ghana for the first time and the host Black Stars prevailed, first topping their group ahead of Benin, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone, before ousting Senegal 3-1 in the final in Kumasi.
This year, Ghana is again playing play host to the sub-regional tournament. This time around the tournament features all 16 teams from CAF West A and B Zone. The format will see an opening knockout round for a place in a group stage, which will be followed by semifinals, a third-place playoff and the final.
Zone A is made up of Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone, while Zone B features Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.
The tournament, which is open only to home-based players, will be held in the Ghanaian cities of Elmina and Cape Coast.
Hosts Ghana will kick start the tournament on Saturday with against Gambia at the Cape Coast stadium at 15H00 GMT to be followed by Nigeria and Sierra Leone at 18H00 GMT to complete the opening day.
Senegal will take on Liberia in the first game on Sunday afternoon and it will be followed by Burkina Faso and Niger in the evening.
09.09.2017 Cape Coast Ghana vs Gambia
09.09.2017 Cape Coast Senegal vs Liberia
10.09.2017 Cape Coast Burkina Faso vs Niger
10.09.2017 Cape Coast Guinea vs Guinea Bissau
11.09.2017 Cape Coast Mali vs Mauritania
11.09.2017 Cape Coast Nigeria vs Sierra Leone
12.09.2017 Cape Coast Cote d’Ivoire vs Togo
12.09.2017 Cape Coast Benin vs Cape Verde