The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have announced the postponement of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations which will be hosted by Cameroon.
Cameroon were awarded hosting rights after they pulled out of hosting the 2019 tournament which would ultimately be held in Egypt and won by Algeria.
CAF pushes AFCON back
The CAF Executive Committee held a meeting on Tuesday, 30 June via video-conference to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on African football and other related issues.
After the conference it was announced that the tournament set to be held in January and February of 2021 would be pushed back to 2022.
During the meeting the CAF executive decided there would not be sufficient time to complete the qualifying tournament which has lost ground due to the suspended international windows.
As for the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup, the semi-finals will no longer be contested over two-legs for home and away fixtures.
Raja Casablanca, Wydad Casablanca, Al Ahly and Zamalek will instead play the semifinals and final on neutral soil in Cameroon.
The Confederations Cup will contest a mini-tournament in Morrocco.
Moving the women’s game forward
The 2020 Women’s AFCON has been scrapped with CAF indicating they intended to launch a Women’s Champions League in 2021 in an exciting development for football on the continent.
As things stand only Tanzania has been able to restart its domestic season, with superclub Simba SC sealing a third consecutive title over the weekend. Simba held a commanding 17-point lead when the championship resumed in June and sealed the title despite being held 0-0 at home by mid-table Prisons.
CAF have previously been urged to realign its calendar to better align their competitions with the global season.
European clubs have long considered AFCON, usually held in January and February, as a bane and some players such as Liverpool’s Joel Matip retire from the international game rather than irking their employers.
AFCON could do with realignment
First held in 1957, the African Cup of Nations and the next edition in Cameroon will be the 33rd edition of the continental showpiece.
Bafana Bafana have been drawn alongside Ghana, Sudan and São Tomé and Príncipe in their qualifying group. Two rounds of matches have been held with Ghana the early leaders after a perfect start while Bafana Bafana bounced back from defeat to the Black Stars with a 1-0 home win over Sudan.
The qualifying tournament was set to conclude in September but qualifying rounds in March and June had already been postponed.