The next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has been postponed by 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed in their Executive Committee meeting yesterday.
CAF confirmed that the tournament, initially penciled to take place in Cameroon between January 9 and February 6 of next year, will be pushed back and played in 2022 instead.
With qualifying having not yet finished, and the logistical nightmare of traveling between countries during the pandemic, CAF have decided to go early on the postponement.
Clashing with the European domestic season has often been a difficulty for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, and last year’s edition in Egypt experimented with a summer event instead.
But with the concerns over climate and feasibility, the competition was moved back to its usual January-February slot in the calendar and that is not expected to change.
Jurgen Klopp last year described the decision to switch the tournament’s position in the calendar back as a “catastrophe”.
He said: “The African Cup of Nations, AFCON going back to January is, for us, a catastrophe.
“We will not sell Sadio, Mo or Naby (Keita) now because they have a tournament in January and February – of course not.
“But if you have to make a decision about bringing in a player, it is a massive one because before the season you know for four weeks you don’t have them.
“That’s a normal process and as a club, you have to think about these things.”
The move now means that African stars will have to play in two major tournaments in one year, with 2022 being rounded off by the winter World Cup in Qatar, scheduled to begin on November 21.
The African Nations Championship is now set to take place in January 2021. The competition was originally scheduled for April 2020.
Both the Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON and the African Nations Championship will take place in Cameroon.