Why CAF Moving AFCON 2021 To January Makes No Sense

Oluwole Ola

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have confirmed that the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will take place in winter during club competitions.

Since 1960, AFCON was always held during winter or spring mainly due to climate reasons and conflict with other international tournaments or club competitions.

This was changed last year when Egypt hosted the first AFCON to take place during summer in 60 years.

But CAF president Ahmad Ahmad hinted last month that the AFCON could go back to the old format. It is now confirmed that the 2021 AFCON, set to take place in Cameroon, will start on 9 January and end on 6 February.

Why It Doesn’t Make Sense

The tournament will be held while the European season is at its half way stage. It means stars like Saido Mane, Mo Salah, Wilfred Ndidi, Riyad Mahrez, Thomas Partey and co will have to miss as many as 4-6 games for their clubs if their national teams go all the way to the final.

With the very intense competition in European clubs, some of these players might be displaced when they return.

In addition to that, clubs looking to sign African players in the January transfer window will opt against it because the player can potentially miss an entire month of football.

We do not understand the rationale behind the decision by CAF as the last tournament in Egypt which was held in the summer was successful.

This is a step back from the federation and will do more harm than good.


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