CAF president Ahmad Ahmad says the dates for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) could revert to the old calendar due to unfavourable June and July climatic conditions in Cameroon, the hosts the tournament.
The Flames are taking part in the tournament and are in Group B alongside, Burkina Faso’s Stallions, Uganda’s Cranes and the Bright Stars of South Sudan.
This year, Egypt hosted the Afcon finals in June and July as the tournament was moved from the traditional January and February period.
But according to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), with rains expected in the middle of the year in Cameroon’s tropical climatic conditions, Ahmad feels it is not conducive to have the Afcon staged then.
The CAF president was quoted by www.goal.com as having said that the continental football governing body will “take a decision” on what would be the appropriate dates to host the 2021 edition.
“When we took the decision to move the Africa Cup of Nations to June, which we did for the last tournament in Egypt, we have always said that we need to have some flexibility over the dates,” Ahmad was quoted as saying.
“This is because of the different climatic conditions in the continent. In my view, it is not possible, because of the climatic conditions in Cameroon, to stage the Africa Cup of Nations in June/July. This is clear, so we must take a decision on the date.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu, who is also a CAF executive member, said the prospective change will not affect the qualifiers “as qualifying fixtures will be through to November 2020”.
“The only drawback is that there will be fixture congestion as 2022 World Cup qualifiers will also be taking place. So, this will lead to player fatigue and exhaustion and there will be need to have a deep squad,” he said.
Also the expanded Fifa Club World Cup could force the 2021 Afcon tournament to be revised back to January/February anyway.