CHAN competition unfair - Togo coach Tom Saintfiet

Togo coach Tom Saintfiet
Togo coach Tom Saintfiet has ruled out his team's chances of playing at CHAN 2016

Coach Tom Saintfiet says Togo cannot qualify for the 2016 African Nations Championship because the rules of competition create mismatches.

CHAN is played between national teams made up exclusively of players who are active in their national championships.

Togo does not have a league so its football federation cannot arrange licenses for its home players.

Saintfiet told BBC Sport: "We cannot select our best squad. This competition is not contested on a fair basis."

Togo are set to face Niger this weekend in the first leg of their Zone West B qualifying tie, with the return leg set for a week later. The victors will progress to the finals in Rwanda in 2016.

"We cannot win the match against Niger," Saintfiet said.

"Niger qualified in the past for the Africa Cup of Nations and CHAN, they have most of their A national players in their local league with only about five players playing abroad.

"Togo has more than 50 players abroad, has no local league and the players have have not played a competitive match for 11 months.

"If you are realistic and you understand football then you know that, even considering how good our players could be, it is not a fair competition against Niger.

"It would be a miracle if we won."

Also in Zone West B, heavyweights Ghana and Ivory Coast go head-to-head for a place at the finals, and Nigeria take on Burkina Faso.

Elsewhere, the Northern Zone is played in a mini-league format, featuring Morocco, Libya and Tunisia - the sides face each other home and away and the top two finishers in the table go through.

The 15 teams to reach the finals, joining hosts Rwanda, will be known by 25 October.