Defending champions Morocco have withdrawn from the 2022 CHAN just a day before the tournament starts in Algeria.
The withdrawal follows after the Moroccan national team’s request to have a direct flight to Constantine, where they were supposed base during the tournament, was turned down.
The two countries’ governments have a frosty relationship which has led Algeria closing its airspace to all Moroccan flights, adding to borders which it has kept closed since 1994.
The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) announced the decision to pull out of the tournament in a statement on Thursday.
Explaining its decision, the FRMF stressed that “the Moroccan football team is not able to travel to Constantine (Algeria) as the permission for Royal Air Maroc (RAM) flight, the official carrier of the Moroccan national team, from Rabat to Constantine has not been confirmed.”
The Atlas Lions had been drawn into Group C, where they would have faced Sudan, Madagascar and Ghana.
Meanwhile, the first match of the seventh edition of CHAN sees Algeria face Libya in Group A on January 13.