Coronavirus Outbreak: 2021 Africa Cup of Nations could be postponed in CAF meeting next week

The Cup of Nations is set for Cameroon from 9 January - 6 February but appears increasingly under threat as time begins to run out. Qualifying is still far from complete and national team football on the continent is not due to resume before October in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Reuters June 26, 2020 19:47:01 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: 2021 Africa Cup of Nations could be postponed in CAF meeting next week

Cape Town: A postponement of January’s Africa Cup of Nations finals could be on the cards when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) meet next week in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cup of Nations is set for Cameroon from 9 January - 6 February but appears increasingly under threat as time begins to run out. Qualifying is still far from complete and national team football on the continent is not due to resume before October in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

CAF’s executive committee will meet in an online conference on Tuesday to decide what to do, and also set out a possible process for completing this season’s two continental club competitions.

FIFA’s decision on Thursday to cancel September’s window for national team matches in all regions, except Europe and South America, has left CAF with fewer dates to try and complete the competition’s qualifying campaign and then finalise the field for the 24-team tournament.

There are still four rounds of qualifiers to play and although they could yet be scheduled for October and November, that would mean having to postpone the start of the group phase of 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

There is also the squeeze that hosting the Cup of Nations next January would place on domestic competition, with the 2020-21 season in most of Africa’s major leagues set to start late as they seek to first complete current campaigns which have been suspended by the pandemic. Most African leagues are halted mid-season to make space for the Cup of Nations.

“The Cup of Nations could be pushed back by 12 months,” a senior official told Reuters, asking not to be identified, although general secretary Abdelmounaim Bah told reporters last week the best option remained its current dates.

Creative Plans

The African Champions League and African Confederation Cup were suspended at the semi-final stage and CAF will have to come up with a creative plan to finish the competitions with borders mostly shut, flights suspended and football stopped across the continent because of the pandemic.

CAF must also decide whether to cancel this year’s African Nations Championship, which was due to be played in Cameroon in April. It is the tournament hosted every two years for quasi-national teams made up of home-based players only.

A decision must also be made on the African women’s championship, scheduled for November but with qualification also far from complete.

But in this case, a postponement looks an easy decision to make because CAF have yet to find a venue for the tournament after Congo withdrew as hosts in July last year.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Kerala govt to use phone call records of COVID-19 patients for contact tracing, says Pinarayi Vijayan
India

Kerala govt to use phone call records of COVID-19 patients for contact tracing, says Pinarayi Vijayan

The Kerala chief minister assured that there would be no intrusion into the privacy of the COVID-19 patients.

India comes a 'close second' after US in COVID-19 testing, says Donald Trump
India

India comes a 'close second' after US in COVID-19 testing, says Donald Trump

While the US has tested close to 65 million people for COVID-19, India would be second with 11 million tests, claimed the US president

Premier League: Arsenal cutting 55 jobs due to financial damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic
Sports

Premier League: Arsenal cutting 55 jobs due to financial damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic

Arsenal's head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham assured supporters in their statement that investment into the team will continue, despite the loss of jobs