Published on : 01/15/2020 – 13:38Modified : 01/15/2020 – 17:11
The next final phase of the African Cup of Nations (CAN 2021) will finally take place in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6 rather than in June-July. Cameroonian authorities and the African Football Confederation (CAF) have agreed on a date change on January 15, 2020 in Yaoundé, officially due to the rainy season in this region of the continent.
Back to square one. Except big surprise, the CAN will fight again during its favorite period, in January / February, from 2021, after an African Cup of Nations organized for the first time in June-July, in 2019 in Egypt, announced the African Football Confederation (CAF) and the Cameroonian authorities, this January 15, 2020.
This change must still be validated at the next meeting of the CAF Executive Committee, which should take place on February 6, on the sidelines of the African Futsal Cup (January 28 to February 7 in Laayoune).
The climatic conditions highlighted
Officially, this choice was made ” at the request of the Cameroonian side “(Said a CAF press release) and it would be dictated by the weather conditions prevailing” in summer “in Cameroon. In opening a joint meeting this Wednesday, the Minister of Sports and Physical Education (Minsep) has in any case implied that the period was not favorable for playing football. ” Throughout the territory, from North to South, from East to West, […] the period from June to September – I speak under the control of the director of meteorology […] – corresponds to the great rainy season, underlined Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi. In Douala, for example, during this period, it rains daily “.
This decision could also be renewed for CAN 2023 (Ivory Coast) and CAN 2025 (Guinea), as it is also the rainy season in much of West Africa at this time of the year. But there was no mention of the next two final stages in Yaoundé.
Half a surprise
This backtracking is a half surprise. A few weeks earlier, CAF President Ahmad had highlighted a weather problem. ” In Africa, summer in the north of the continent has nothing to do with summer in the south, notably recalled the Malagasy, during an interview with RFI. Someone would have to verify my statement at the Rabat symposium when we announced a 24-team CAN in July. I always said that we have to be flexible with the weather “.
The boss of African football has in any case been satisfied with the preparations for the African Nations Championship (CHAN 2020, from April 4 to 25), a tournament reserved for local players, as well as for CAN 2021. ” I am convinced that the Cameroonian people will live this African Cup in exceptional popular fervor because the passion for football that exists in this country is unique, incomparable, inimitable, he started. Regarding the different sites of CAN 2021, I can tell you that the trend is optimism. […] I conclude by continuing to encourage you strongly on this positive path of good preparation, by assuring you of the continued support of the African Football Confederation “.
This decision is in any case a new episode in the incredible soap opera of the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon. In September 2014, CAF, then chaired by Cameroonian Issa Hayatou, awarded the organization of the CAN 2019 in the land of Samuel Eto’o. There was talk of a 16-team competition in January / February. But in July 2017, the new management of CAF had decided that the CAN would now compete with 24 selections in June-July.
The Cameroonians had accepted this major change in the specifications. But, too late in the preparations, they had been withdrawn from the organization of CAN 2019 and assign that of CAN 2021 instead. A tournament which was supposed to take place initially in June / July… A period during which there will be – unacceptable competition – the brand new Club World Cup imagined by the International Football Federation (FIFA).
A serious problem for players ?
This CAN 2021 is likely to pose a case of conscience to many African players. In the past, when the African Cup lasted three weeks, some were already tempted to ignore the idea of not offending their clubs. CAF had also put forward this situation to justify the holding of its flagship competition in June / July, ie after the end of the various national championships.
Now, players summoned to the CAN will have to choose between their employer and a final phase spanning four weeks. Will the Senegalese Sadio Mané, the Egyptian Mohamed Salah, the Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or the Algerian Riyad Mahrez, accept, for example, to miss several days of the English championship to compete in the CAN 2021?