the different countries should decide for themselves how to classify those matches.
This is an important point. But we know that it isn't going to
happen, and certainly not in a well-defined way. Most national FAs do
not publish any lists of the matches they consider official/A/full,
and many of those who do so show no satisfactory consideration in the
process. Frankly many of them don't have the capacity to make a decent
job of it even when they bother to try.
Even those which have
published some kind of list are liable to edit or purge it on a whim,
just as they change their websites on a whim (and on a frequency greater
than that at which I visit). So we will be just running in circles trying to catch falling confetti of administrative nonsense, and we will be compelled to follow the ill-informed decisions of inferior beings - just as in any democracy.
Even supposing it does happen, and all African countries choose separately whether they count the CHAN matches or not, and publish that decision clearly. Then all that has been achieved is to produce another random set of idiosyncratic inconsistencies to add to the pile. Just as Olympic matches are counted by some and not others (and often without correlation to the actual impact of the restrictions), and even some FAs lumped youth matches in with the seniors, or counted "caps" for matches vs clubs or World XIs. That is their right to do so, it they want it.
One could naively propose a very strict view that whenever there is *any* restriction then the match *cannot* be "A", regardless of whether the restrictions actually effect a given country's team makeup. So all amateur competitions would be deleted, which includes Olympics, Asian Games, SEA Games, early African Nations Cups and so on. But then someone will say that is too harsh, so they will cherry-pick some to reinstate, and we are back to fudging. Similar to the IFFHS fudging its criteria (otherwise quite strict) to include England Amateurs for example.
Sometimes you just don't play with your best men regardless of the restrictions!
Of course, but there is a freedom of choice. Self-imposed restrictions on player selection are different to competition-enforced restrictions.
Teams can, at any time, choose to rest their best players, or try some young players, or send a reserve team for whatever reason. Not just in off-season friendlies but also in competitive games - often, when already eliminated with no chance to qualify, teams will push the "reset" button and go back to another iteration of interminable "development". Or when they have too many fixtures.
Finally IMO, this is gonna cause headaches for future statisticians as much as the olympic matches has for us..
In the future, we will be Enlightened and headaches will be solved in the straightforward way. And there will definitely be no CHAN.