After months of careful consultations and deliberations, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has decided to postpone the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations scheduled to hold in Cameroun to 2022. The decision was reached by the African football ruling body on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which has caused major sporting tournaments such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to be postponed or cancelled.
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Since March 2020, football activities in the continent have been halted which has left little time for completion of the qualification campaign. Originally scheduled to hold from January 9 to February 6, 2021, the tournament will now hold on January 2022 with CAF stating that it will communicate the date in which the remainder of the qualifiers will hold.
This decision was taken due to the uncertainties about the coronavirus health situation and especially because of the scheduling problems since four rounds of qualifiers would need to be fitted into the October and November windows for international matches
Ahmad Ahmad (CAF President)
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With this development, the Africa Nations Championship originally scheduled to hold by April this year will now hold by January 2021, taking the place of AFCON 2021. For CAF club competitions, there will be a single semi-final stage and then the final, unlike the usual two-legged semi-final and final. CAF also decided that Cameroun will be tasked with the responsibility of staging the semi-final and final matches of the CAF Champions League. Morocco will stage the semi-final and final matches of the CAF Confederations Cup. CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad, also stated that these resolutions were prone to changes if the global health situation improves.
“But we have to see what happens with the pandemic and what the situation will be. We have made a decision today but this could all change tomorrow added Ahmad.”
The 2020 Africa Women Cup of Nations has been scrapped owing to the fact that no new host emerged since Congo withdrew from hosting the tournament. However, African women football was boosted by the announcement by CAF that it will launch a Women’s Champions League in 2021. Also, CAF stated that it had made an additional allocation of $16.2-million in a bid to help member associations hit by the pandemic with each country set to get an additional $300,000.
Featured Image Source: CAF
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