Cameroon FA Announces 2021 Africa Cup of Nations 2021 Moved to January

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 15, 2020

Algerian players celebrate with the trophy after winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Final football match between Senegal and Algeria at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo on July 19, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Cameroon Football Federation announced on Wednesday that the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will move from the summer and start on January 9:

B/R Football @brfootball

BREAKING: After the 2019 tournament was played over the summer, the next AFCON will be held in January-February 2021 ๐ŸŒ https://t.co/pPbHWzRa6G

The 2019 tournament was held in June and July, which meant minimal disruption to the European domestic season, but the dates for the next edition have been changed because of weather conditions.

The Cameroon FA confirmed the change after a meeting with representatives from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) (h/t BBC Sport):ย "It [2021 Africa Cup of Nations] will be played in Cameroon from 9 January to 6 February 2021. Date changed for weather reasons at Cameroon's request."

BBC Sport's John Bennett explained the thinking behind the decision:

John Bennett @JohnBennettBBC

June/July would be rainy season in Cameroon & thereโ€™s a clash with the new 2021 Club World Cup... Which is why itโ€™s looking more & more likely that next yearโ€™s AFCON will be played in January/February. Debates taking place as we speak in Cameroon.

The change in date will have a big impact on Premier League clubs, who will see some of their key players depart to participate in the tournament.

Goal highlighted some of the African stars who could be involved:

Goal @goal

Salah ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Mane ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ณ Keita ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ณ Mahrez ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Aubameyang ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Pepe ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Aurier ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Bailly ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Zaha ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Ndidi ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Iwobi ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Some of the Premier League stars that could miss up to SIX league matches because of AFCON next season ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Premier League leaders Liverpool are likely to be particularly affected and may have to cope without key players such as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for up to six weeks.

Bennett noted how hectic Salah's schedule has been over the last few seasons:

John Bennett @JohnBennettBBC

Sadio Mane's crazy schedule: -2016/2017 - 1st LFC season & an AFCON. -2017/2018 - 44 apps for Liverpool & a World Cup. -2018/2019 - From pre-season to the AFCON final a 363 day season. -2019/2020 - Maybe a rest this summer? ๐Ÿ™ -2020/2021 - domestic season, AFCON & Club World Cup.

Other big names who are likely to be involved are Arsenal duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe and Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez.

The AFCON tournament has always traditionally been held in January but was moved in 2019 and held in the summer for the first time.

Cameroon was due to host the 2019 edition but was stripped of the right because of delays and security issues, and Egypt was subsequently selected host.ย  ย  ย  ย  ย ย 


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