The 2009 African Nations Championship was the first edition of the tournament designed exclusively for the footballers who play in their domestic leagues.
It took place in Cote d’Ivoire from 22 February to 8 March 2009 with eight teams taking place in the finals. Thirty (30) teams played in the qualifiers that were played on Zonal basis.
The finals saw the eight teams divided on two groups. Group A had the hosts Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia, while Group B included DR Congo, Ghana, Libya and Zimbabwe.
The opening game was marked by the first hat-trick in the competition’s history, scored by Zambia’s Given Singuluma as they defeated hosts Cote d’Ivoire 3-0. Zambia went to top Group A on five points, same as Senegal as they both reached the semifinals.
Group B was tighter, with just one point separating between its four teams. Ghana and DR Congo reached the semis on five and four points respectively.
In the semifinals, Ghana needed a penalty shootout to overcome Senegal after a 1-1 draw in regular and extra time. Meanwhile DR Congo scored two early goals to see off Zambia 2-1 and reach the final.
Zambia finished in third place beating Senegal 2-1, with the tournament’s top scorer Singuluma scoring the winner.
In the final, DR Congo scored right after the break via Alain Kaluyituka, and Mbenza Bedi added another 15 minutes from time as The Leopards defeated Ghana 2-0 to lift the first ever CHAN title.