Sierra Leone have been pitted against Senegal in the first round of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifying campaign.

The continental competition is only designed for players, who are playing in their country’s domestic league and qualifiers are arranged regionally.

With the African Football governing body, CAF conducted the draw last Friday, February 3 in Libreville, Gabon, the home-base Leone Stars are scheduled to host the Lions of Teranga in Freetown on the weekend of 14-16 July in the first-leg and the second leg will take place the following weekend in Dakar.

The winner of the double-legged tie will face the winners of the Guinea-Bissau and Guinea clash in the second round with the first leg billed to take place between 11 and 13 August, and those of the return leg the following weekend.

Sierra Leone has eliminated from the 2016 tournament in the preliminary round by Mauritania thanks to a 4-1 aggregate win. The Mauritanians won the first leg 2-1 at the Nouakchott Stadium and six days later they registered a 2-0 victory at the same venue.

Leone Stars chose to host their home leg in Nouakchott because Sierra Leone was unable to host international games due to the Ebola outbreak in the country which forced an international ban on all football and sporting activities in the country then.

In 2014, Sierra Leone was eliminated from the qualifiers in their own backyard by next door neighbor Guinean. The Guineans forced Sierra Leone to a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium in Freetown as the first leg in Conakry ended in a goalless draw.

Senegal, on the other hand, has participated in the final phases of CHAN in 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016. In 2014, they were eliminated by Mauritania (1-0 and 0-2) and in 2016, it was the Guineans who pushed them away.

Follow the writer @morrisjr88 – Sahr Morris Jr.

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