Nightmare for club football as the next Africa Cup of Nations is MOVED back by six months to January 2024 due to weather concerns in the Ivory Coast… meaning the continent’s leading stars will miss a raft of domestic matches
- The next Africa Cup of Nations finals have been rescheduled for January 2024
- African Football Confederation boss Patrice Motsepe feared a weather wash-out
- The confederation had been given warnings about their original summer plans
- Motsepe acknowledged clubs would be unhappy but said there was ‘no choice’
The next Africa Cup of Nations has been pushed back from June-July 2023 to January-February 2024, meaning Premier League clubs will again lose key players midway through their campaigns.
The move is to avoid the rainy season in host country Ivory Coast.
African Football Confederation president Patrice Motsepe said: ‘We took a lot of advice and we decided we cannot take a risk.
The 2024 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations will now be held in January rather than summer
Premier League stars such as Edouard Mendy (pictured) and Mohamed Salah are likely to play
‘We don’t want to run the risk of that our top competition is going to be washed out.’
He did not answer a question about why it had taken so long for CAF to make the change, given it had been warned of the rainy season when it was announced it would take place in mid-2023.
It comes after the last AFCON tournament was also moved to January-February this year, with organisers blaming the change on ‘unfavourable climatic conditions’ in host country Cameroon.
That annoyed managers including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, who lost Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for the entire tournament as Senegal beat Egypt in the final.
AFCON organisers previously said they wanted to hold future editions in the summer to avoid disputes with European clubs who did not want to release their players.
Sadio Mane, who recently joined Bayern Munich, could also be involved at the tournament
CAF moved the hosting of its continental championship to mid-year in 2019 to avoid the club versus country tussle for its top players.
But weather concerns and the COVID-19 pandemic caused the last edition to be played in Cameroon in January, reigniting complaints from clubs in Europe forced to give up their African players to national duty in mid-season.
‘January is not the best time because the European clubs do not want to release their players but we have no choice,’ Motsepe added.
He hinted that CAF would now be able to postpone qualifying matches scheduled for September to allow its five World Cup finals representatives a chance to organise tougher friendlies against countries from other continents as part of their build-up for Qatar.
‘We want to do everything possible to help our national teams who are going to Qatar,’ Motsepe said.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was angry about losing Salah and Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations this year
He refused to give any details about the make up of the new Super League, which he said would not replace Africa’s existing Champions League.
He said there would be a launch at the CAF Congress in Arusha, Tanzania in August. ‘We are going to have a total revision of all club fixtures for all the competitions,’ he added.
An African Super League has been mooted for several years, first proposed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino who insisted it would entice more sponsors to the African game.
The concept has met with a muted response in Africa in contrast to the fervent opposition to a similar proposal in Europe last year, which quickly scuppered the idea.