CHAN 2018: Looming transfers could hit Moroccan chances

Ashraf Bencharki
Ashraf Bencharki helped Wydad Casablanca win the 2017 African Champions League.

Hosts Morocco will be without key players Achraf Bencharki and Jawad El Yamiq if they reach the African Nations Championship (CHAN) final on Sunday.

The duo are set to leave their Moroccan clubs by Wednesday to play overseas, which contradicts competition rules.

The CHAN is a tournament for African players based in their own domestic leagues.

Bencharki has agreed to join Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal Riyadh, while El Yamiq is heading to Genoa in Italy.

Midfielder Bencharki is leaving from African champions Wydad Casablanca, while defender El Yamiq has been on the books of city rivals Raja.

Both men could also miss Wednesday's semi-final against Libya should their deals have gone through by that day's transfer window deadline.

Their International Transfer Certificates (ITC) must be registered with football's world governing body Fifa before the end of Wednesday.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) says that a player is ineligible to play in the CHAN once his ITC registration is with a club outside his own country.

Morocco are due to play their semi-final at 1630GMT on Wednesday, so leaving little time after the match for any paperwork to be finalised.

Caf regulations state that as well as being a citizen of the country, "only players with a permanent contract registered in a local club affiliated to their national association are eligible to participate in the African Nations Championship."

Earlier in the tournament Guinea launched an appeal over the eligibility of Sudan's Elsmani Elsawi Saadeldin, who they claimed had signed for Libyan club Al Ittihad Tripoli in December.

Caf ruled that Saadeldin was eligible as he was still with his Sudanese club Al Merreikh at the time.

Elsewhere, Nigeria's Stephen Eze is set to continue playing as his proposed move from Kano Pillars to Bulgaria's Lokomotiv Plovdiv can happen after the CHAN as the Bulgarian transfer window remains open until 28 February.

Similarly, the move of Cameroon's Frantz Prangop to MLS side Minnesota United in the United States will be finalised after the tournament.

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