By Tony Ubani
Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) believes its decision to move the timing of the Africa Cup of Nations from even to odd years is partly responsible for the qualification of two Africa teams, Nigeria and Algeria to the round of 16 at the on-going World cup in Brazil.
Brazil 2014 is the first World cup to be played after CAF took the decision in respect to concerns from fitness expert who are of the opinion that it’s hard for a player to peak twice in such a short time as the Nations cup is usually five months away from the World cup.
Also the Africa Nations Cup distract teams who used it as a yard stick to judge their handlers and sometimes fire their coaches just months before the Mundial leaving the new man in charge with little or no time to prepare his team properly.
But all of those are now in the past and CAF secretary general Hicham El Amrani is off the opinion that Nigeria and Algeria progression is down to moving the Cup of Nations to odd years.
“Playing the Nations cup same year as the World Cup, makes it impossible for African players to have two major events to play in the space of six months.”
“The fact that two teams made it through is a combination of various factors, one of which is Caf’s decision to change the Nations Cup from even to odd years,”
He also attributed the team’s progressions to their “preparations, talent and skills” as well as the “overall progress and development of the African game”.
El Amrani also confirmed that Caf President Issa Hayatou has contacted both federations to pass on his congratulations as well as wishing them the best for the next phase of the competition.
“We wish the best of luck to Algeria and Nigeria as the entire African continent is behind them,” said El Amrani.