The spotlight will be on Morocco at this AFCON.
Can the World Cup semifinalists replicate their stunning run in Qatar and end up with a trophy?
Al Jazeera spoke with football coaches, experts and fans in Morocco to understand why they think AFCON is a “mythical tournament” for the country and what challenges await the Atlas Lions in Ivory Coast.
Amrouche fired after Morocco tirade
Tanzania suspended their coach Adel Amrouche after just one game at the tournament following an eight-match ban he received for comments he made about Morocco.
Amrouche was banned, and the Tanzanian football federation fined him $10,000 “following comments and allegations he made in the media about Royal Moroccan Football Federation”, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said in a statement on Saturday.
CAF said it had been brought into “disrepute” by Amrouche’s comments.
Amrouche, an Algerian who has coached several African national teams, had suggested before the tournament that Morocco exerted undue influence on CAF for favourable treatment.
“The Morocco federation is a proven power in the world of African football. Morocco manages African football,” Amrouche told Algerian TV in a pretournament interview.
He alleged Moroccan officials within CAF decide who referees matches involving the senior men’s national team, and at what time they kick off.
Hemed Suleiman has taken over as acting head coach for Tanzania’s other group games.
Leopards fall short
Two-time champions DR Congo had 25 efforts at goal as they were held 1-1 by Zambia in their first match.
Kings Kangwa opened the scoring for Zambia in the 23rd minute, but Yoane Wissa equalised for DRC just four minutes later.
The Leopards came close to grabbing a winner with Stuttgart forward Silas Katompa Mvumpa, but he couldn’t direct the ball on target.