The Confederation of African Football (CAF) may be forced to push the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations to January 2022 if coronavirus continues to hold sporting activities hostage.
The continental showpiece event which was scheduled for January 9th to February 6th in Cameroon lies in limbo, thanks to Covid-19 uncertainties.
However, even though CAF still believes the contests may take place as initially planned, rescheduling the tournament to January 2022 is also an option over staging the event between June and July next year.
According to CAF Secretary General Abdelmounaim Bah’s, the confederation body is still crossing fingers in regards to the next Afcon kick off date.
CAF had earlier cancelled the March and June 2021 Afcon qualifiers when coronavirus pandemic first broke out.
Bah has confirmed that this makes the August qualifiers quite a bit hard to go on, hence complicating the whole calendar of events.
Contrary to the situation on ground, Bah is hopeful international football in Africa may return in October, basing on gradual resumption of the game in Europe and other parts of the globe.
“What we can say is that all the confederations hope to be able to play again this year and each is making its arrangements. In this regard, the Asian confederation has announced that it will resume its qualifications in October and November. And at CAF we subscribe to this logic,” Bah is quoted by Radio Sport Info.
“The international windows scheduled for March and June have been cancelled, but the months of October and November 2020 represent a lot of hope. We no longer include September in the strategies because it will be quite complicated to have the teams travel from one country to another as early as September. This means that the matches can resume locally but international matches will be difficult to be held because of the travel factor.”
It is most likely that CAF competitions may be delayed to 2022 to avoid clashing with Euro 2020 and the Copa America have also been moved to 2021.
“If we cannot make up for the Afcon 2021 qualifiers in October and November, we will have to think of another plan… But today the longer the crisis lasts, the more this scenario deserves to be thought about. Afcon next January, however, remains our number one priority,” said Bah.
“January 2022 remains the second option for Afcon… As everyone knows, playing in June/July in Cameroon is difficult because of the weather conditions. In addition, in June/July 2021 there is already a lot of competition with the Euros and the Copa America. So the best time to postpone the Afcon would be January 2022. But all that I repeat, these are alternatives because our priority for the Afcon is to play in January 2021.”