Adel Chedli: I'm really happy to have been appointed ambassador for the tournament. Since I ended my career as a footballer, many have forgotten about me. But CAF through the President and the members of the Executive Committee made a gesture to me that I will never forget. Here, I have discovered the great CAF family. It's really a family; I did not expect such an atmosphere and friendliness.
Robert Kidiaba: I was very moved when I received my invitation. I thank the CAF President and his executive for not forgetting a player who had his entire career on the continent. I know that it is difficult to be appointed a CAF ambassador especially for a player whose career was only in Africa.
You have each won the CHAN previously; the first edition in 2009 (Robert Kidiaba) and in 2011 (Adel Chedli), what did this feat do to your careers?
Chedli: Yes, I had the honour of winning this trophy in 2011 with Tunisia. It remains one of the most important moments of my career despite winning the AFCON in 2004. This feat remains special. The tournament was played in 2011 just after the revolution in Tunisia. The populace were sad and there were many problems in the country. We were in the midst of a crisis, I remember, we had done a week-long training camp in Rabat before traveling to Sudan. We could not get the best of preparations, but we won the trophy. It was played on a mental level. For us players, we had to win this cup to please the people and make them happy.
Kidiaba: CHAN remains a lucky charm for me. This was my first trophy. It was in 2009. I was earned myself a nickname during this tournament due to my famous dance “kidi-bouake" because, we started the tournament in Bouaké and then won the trophy in Abidjan. It's my first international title. Right after, I won the CAF champions leagues, the CAF Super Cup and other titles. I have good memories of this tournament.
What is the difference between CHAN and AFCON?
Chedli: For me, it's the same motivation. I played AFCON, CHAN and even friendly games with the same state of mind. In 2011 for example, we had a great determination because of what was happening in Tunisia. I remember that time well. The conditions were so difficult because we had artificial pitches in Sudan. But there is no big difference between CHAN and AFCON. Today, we can see the means available, it's really huge.
Kidiaba: I cannot contradict what my friend Chedli has said. Back home in DR Congo, CHAN is less considered and less publicized during the opening rounds. But once we are in the semi-finals or the final, we are given importance. People give more importance to the AFCON because of the presence of the players outside the continent.
What does CHAN offer home-based players?
Chedli: It will give them a platform to be seen by potential suitors. The other time, I was in the VIP Tribune and I saw a lot of European scouts because they know there are diamonds, you just have to move them forward.
Kidiaba: CHAN is a mirror for local players. In DR Congo, (Jonathan) Bolingi had shone with the team during the CHAN 2016 in Rwanda, and just after, he moved to Belgium.
Which games and teams have attracted your attentions so far?
Chedli: Sincerely, I really appreciate the performance of Zambia and Morocco during the tournament. But, the match I enjoyed was the quarter-final in Tangiers between Angola and Nigeria. There were scoring opportunities. There was also intensity and commitment. On the technical side, we have seen some beautiful things.
Kidiaba: Zambia-Namibia, it was a very good match tactically. Zambia has a very good team on the technical side. I like football based on technique and especially tactical rigour. Zambia adopts an academic football.
Were you surprised by the elimination of big guns such as Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon?
Chedli: It's a surprise to see such two big teams from Africa eliminated in the first round. Too bad, but such is football. There are a lot of teams that have paraded young players like Nigeria.
Kidiaba: I was sad at their elimination and for the coaches. Rigobert Song is the Head Coach of Cameroon and Kolo Toure is an Assistant Coach in the Ivorian team. These are two legends of African football. I wish they had reached the semi-finals or final.
Morocco-Nigeria in the final ...
Chedli: A final between the two best teams in the tournament. Morocco will have the pressure for a positive result unlike Nigeria. They will also have the support of the fans. I have followed Morocco during this tournament; it is a team that always have the necessary resources to cope with situations. The semi-final (against Libya) is the best example. They conceded after a mistake by the goalkeeper a few minutes to the end, but bounced back to win in extra time. After (Abdelilah) Hafidi's injury, I thought Morocco would not be able to reach the final because he was the architect of the team, but they have proved otherwise.
Kidiaba: It's an excellent poster. Morocco has a very good team that is based much more on the speed of number 11 (Ismail El Haddad) or the number 7 (Zakaria Hadraf), whom I cannot understand why it is often left on the bench.
Ayoub El Kaabi, top scorer and also revelation of the tournament…
Chedli: A.C: He is a player who is confident and growing. He was playing in the second-tier of Moroccan football two seasons ago, before joining a mid-club in the top flight, RS Berkane. Now, he is knocking on the doors of main senior national team as Herve Renard has been following the Moroccan team at the CHAN with great interest. I think he has a good chance of playing at the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. He also has to manage his career well.
Kidiaba: When I saw him play, I thought he was a player of either Wydad Athletic Club or Raja Athletic Club, Chedli told me he was playing RS Berkane. This is an example of success.
Morocco is bidding for 2026 FIFA World Cup. What are your thoughts?
Chedli: It's good for Africa. I think that Morocco is a country capable of hosting the 2026 World Cup. It is a country in full evolution that has the means and even in terms of infrastructure.
Kidiaba: Till now, only South Africa has hosted the World Cup. Morocco is a country in evolution as Chedli has said. His Majesty King Mohamed VI is very close to his people.
What have you been doing after retiring?
Chedli: Since I ended my career as a footballer, I undertook coaching courses and I have successfully completed the badges. I handled a small club in France. However, my wish is to work in Africa. It's Africa that revealed me. I want to pass on my knowledge to this continent. I also want to work with CAF to help train young talents.
Kidiaba: I retired in 2016. Since then, I have been training the goalkeepers of TP Mazembe. I also have a training centre with about 25 kids, who I am training to become excellent goalkeepers in the future.