CONFEDERATION of African Football (Caf) officials have postponed the 2021 African Cup of Nations until 2022 in response to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic that has led to the suspension of qualifiers.
Cameroon has been due to host the 33rd African Cup of Nations in January 2021 and the qualifiers had already begun, with two matches played. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Caf had to cancel all qualifiers and even though football is resuming globally, there will not be enough time between now and January to play the remaining six games in all the qualification groups.
After holding a virtual conference yesterday, Caf’s executive committee decided to postpone the tournament until January 2022. Caf also decided that the 2020 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations slated for November 23 to December 20 had been cancelled.
Similarly, the 2020 African Nations Championship for home-based players, which was also set to be hosted by Cameroon, to January 2021 has been cancelled. There will also be no Caf 2020 awards this year as a result of the tight schedule.
A Caf spokesman said: “After consultation with stakeholders and taking into consideration the current global situation, the 2021 African Cup of Nations tournament has been rescheduled for January 2022. The date for the final tournament and the remaining matches of the qualifiers will be communicated in due course.”
Cameroon 2021 was slated to take place between January 9 and February 6, 2021, with most of the venues nearing completion. However, the venue for the African Champions League final is yet to be decided, while the Confederation’s Cup final four would take place in Morocco.
Other decisions taken by Caf include the resumption of the Champions League and the Confederation’s Cup in September, in a final four format. Semi-final games for both competitions would now be played over a single leg, with winners qualifying for the final.
CAF also announced the introduction of the Women’s Champions League, which will be launched in 2021.In addition, the U-17 and U-20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers will be played on a zonal basis, while the U-17 African Cup of Nations will take place in July 2021.