Thirty two (32) breathe-taking fixtures were successfully played at the fourth edition of the African Nations Championships in Rwanda.
Four venues hosted the matches at Umuganda stadium in Rubavu, Huye (Butare), Kigali regional stadium in Nyamirambo and at the main stadium, Amahoro.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) won their second trophy in seven years and made history by becoming the first country to clinch the CHAN tournament since inception in 2009.
They easily beat West African giants, Mali 3-0 in a one sided final marred by heavy rains but watched by a capacity crowd.
After a close scrutiny of all the teams in the tournament, I came up with the exceling players by the close of business of the entire tournament.
Playing formation is 4-3-3 diamond (four defenders, two blocking midfielders, one attacking midfielder with three out and out forwards).
GOAL-KEEPER- Ley Matampi (DR Congo):
I trod on a thin line to choose between Zambia’s Jacob Banda and DR Congo’s Ley Matampi.
Both goalkeepers almost have the same attributes – game reading, organization of backline, shot stopping and the one against one abilities.
Banda kept four clean three clean sheets in four matches before Zambia bowed out of the tournament via spot kicks.
Matampi managed two in six – against Ethiopia and Mali in the finals.
The total onus goes to the winning goalkeeper.
Overall, I witnessed darling saves from the two shot stoppers whenever called upon and provided that crucial command with authority from the backline.
RIGHT BACK – Georges Ambourouet (Gabon):
Ambourouet has all the attributes of a contemporary right back. His play is well balanced defensively and in offence.
The F.C Akanda defender has the positional sense, strong in the air and can man mark whenever it necessitates.
LEFT BACK: Geraldo Quiami Miguel (Angola):
Arguably the most talented defender at the CHAN tournament, Miguel does not deserve to play in a domestic league in Angola.
The 25 year old Benfica De Luanda defender has a swift foot that plays the short crispy passes as long as the diagonal ball once in a while.
He was a real darling to watch especially when adding to the numbers upfront.
Equally strong defensively as well.
CENTRAL DEFENDER – Joel Kimwaki (DR Congo):
The TP Mazembe player narrowly edges Cote D’Ivoire’s Marc Mahan Goua to the slot.
Overall, the two defenders are as solid and compact as the Rwandese 1000 hills that define the CHAN 2016 host nation.
Kimwaki has the excellent command of the defence and the entire team as captain.
He also excels with timely tackles, great heading and building play from the back.
The winning captain is a decent central defender who deserves to play professional football in a sophisticated league.
CENTRAL DEFENDER – Emery Bayisenge (Rwanda):
Well-built and composed, Bayisenge is the reason Rwanda’s booked an early berth to the quarter finals.
He excelled at thwarting the opposition with timely ball inceptions.
The APR defender, a graduate of Rwanda’s youth system possesses a calm head, a prerequisite for many defenders to excel above the ordinary.
He played at the 2012 world U-17 championship where Rwanda represented Africa in Mexico
He also proved his a great curler of the ball from the set piece with that beautiful opening goal of the tournament against Cote D’Ivoire on match day one.
CENTRAL MID-FIELDER – Nelson Munganga (DR Congo):
Every time I watched Munganga in action, I witnessed a typical Yaya Toure in the making.
The lanky and well-built AS Vita football club player is also too strong both on the ground and in air.
He makes the anchorman’s role look so ordinary yet complex.
He crowned his exceptional overall display with a rare strike from deep lying midfielders (more over inside the six yard area) against Angola in DR Congo’s 4-2 victory over Angola at Huye Stadium in the group stages.
Munganga is also possesses the positional discipline expected of a typical anchorman.
CENTRAL MIDFIELDER – Yannick Zakri Krahire (Cote D’Ivoire):
He is blessed with a perfect first ball. Great structure and can use the ball according to the demands of the team at that material time.
One of the revelations at CHAN 2016, possibly following the path of great ball holding midfielders African has produced in the shape of Jay Jay Okocha.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER – Abdessamad El Mobaraky (Morocco):
El Mobaraky is blessed with an awesome first touch on the ball, too fast, a great dribbler and passer alike.
He engineered most of team Morocco’s attacks and his partnership with Abdessalam Benjelloun was blended on earth, but kitted on planet mars.
ATTACKER – Ahmed Akaichi (Tunisia):
Rarely will you encounter a gifted left footed forward who perfectly controls the ball, dribbles, shoots, heads and passes in equal measure.
With Akaichi on any coach’s team, best rest assured of a goal.
ATTACKER – Elia Mechak (DR Congo):
A four goals’ return in six games from a midfielder is just enough.
The Don Bosco player easily beats the next opponent in line with fancy dribbles, dummies and pace.
He was a joy to watch against Angola, Ethiopia and in the final game of the tournament with that master minding man of the match performance when he also managed to score two individual goals against Mali.
ATTACKER – Jonathan Bolingi Mpangi (DR Congo):
He defines a typical nine number nine player. Strong on the ground as he is in air given his lanky structure, Bolingi has the ball sense.
Seldom will you encounter a tall player with the ball positional discipline, perfect ball control, dribbles and shooting abilities as this TP Mazembe goal keeper.
He is a bully to the opposition defenders.
Head Coach: Florent Ibenge (DR Congo)
Ramj Jeridi (Tunisia) – Goalkeeper, Usman Muhammed (Nigeria) – Defender, Jacob Banda (Zambia)- Goalkeeper, Elvis Chisom Chikatara (Nigeria)- Forward, Abdessalam Benjelloun (Morocco) – Forward, Emane Yazid Atouba (Cameroon) – Forward, Heritier Luvumbu (DR Congo) – Midfielder, Bruno Fernando (Angola) – Left Attack, Atcho Hemann Junior Djobo (Ivory Coast) – Forward, Moussa Sissoko (Mali) – Forward, Edmore Chirambardare (Zimbabwe) – Left Attack, Timothy Dennis Awany (Uganda) – Central midfielder, Hamidou Sinayoko (Mali) – Forward, Clatous Chota Chama (Zambia) – Left Attack, Ibrahim Sory Sankhon (Guinea) – Midfielder