COSAFA sides gear up for CHAN 2016

The 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) gets under way on Saturday with three COSAFA sides hoping to lift the trophy in Rwanda.

Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola will fly the flag for Southern Africa in the 16-team tournament that sees its final played on February 7.

Zimbabwe are one of only two countries to have competed in all four editions of the CHAN tournament, along with inaugural champions DR Congo.

Their best finish was forth place in the last finals held in South Africa in 2014, and they will feel they have the armoury to do better this year.

The Warriors have been drawn in Group D alongside regional rivals Zambia, Mali and Uganda.

They open their campaign against Chipolopolo on Tuesday at the Umuganda Stadium in Gisenyi, before a clash with Mali four days later and a meeting with Uganda on January 27, all at the same venue.

Zambia take on the Ugandans on January 23 before finishing their pool phase against Mali at the Stade Régional Nyamirambo in Kigali four days later.

Angola have a tough Group B that sees them tackle Cameroon on Sunday at the Stade Huye in Butare, before a monumental clash with DR Congo at the same venue four days later.

They finish the first round with a fixture against Ethiopia at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali on January 25.

The top two teams in each pool advance to the quarterfinals, after which the competition takes on a knockout format.

The 2016 competition will be the fourth edition of CHAN. DR Congo won the first title in Ivory Coast in 2009, before Tunisia triumphed in Sudan two years later, beating Angola in the final.

Libya defeated Ghana in the last edition played in South Africa in 2014.