The 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations will be the fifth edition of the West African regional football tournament, set to be staged in Ghana from the 9th to the 24th of September, featuring only locally-based players.
This year’s tournament will see 16 teams from West Africa compete for the trophy, with a first round of knockout matches set-to-be followed by a group stage (two pools of four teams each), semifinals, third-place playoff and a final. This will also be the first tournament staged as part of a 12-year partnership between Fox Sports and the West African Football Union.
The Nduom Sports Stadium in Elmina has been confirmed as a venue for the upcoming 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations. It replaces the Essipong Stadium in Sekondi, with members of the local organising committee having inspected Nduom last week.
The venue is the home ground for Ghana Premier League side Elmina Sharks.
The other venue slated for the WAFU Cup of Nations, the Cape Coast Stadium, remains approved for the 16-team competition.
Ghana, as both hosts and defending champions (they won the last tournament in 2013, also on home soil), will enter the 2017 edition as the favourites, though they face a potential banana skin in the first round against the Gambia.
The other heavyweights in the tournament also pose a serious threat; teams such as Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast, are very strong contenders and the two-week tournament is set to see some upsets in the early stages.
Guinea showed a lot of heart when they ousted Senegal in the recent qualifiers for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) and will come to the tournament full of confidence and in good form.
The same can be said of Mauritania and Burkina Faso, the surprise winners over Mali and Ghana respectively in the 2018 CHAN preliminaries.
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