Who are the reigning African Nations Champions and why are they not competing this year?

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THE African Nations Championships starts on Saturday night with the opening game between hosts Morocco and Mauritania.

The competition, which was launched in 2009, differs from the African Cup of Nations because the competing national teams must be composed of players playing in their domestic league.

 DR Congo are the reigning champions but will not be able to fight to retain their titleGetty Images DR Congo are the reigning champions but will not be able to fight to retain their title

Who are the current champions?

THE 2016 African Nations Championships were held in Rwanda. 

DR Congo lifted the trophy when they beat Mali 3-0 in the final.

This was the second time they had lifted the trophy after they won the first edition of the competition in 2009.

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