Wafcon 2024 and Afcon 2025: Caf admits ‘scheduling nightmare’

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, South Africa (left) won the Women’s Nations Cup in 2022 while Ivory Coast won the 2023 Nations Cup earlier this year.

  • author, Ian Williams
  • Role, BBC Sport Africa

Organizers of Africa’s premier international men’s and women’s football tournaments have admitted they are facing a “scheduling nightmare”, but dates for the next editions are closer to being agreed, the BBC has reported.

During a rare in-depth interview, Veron Mosengo Omba, Secretary-General of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), promised that the announcement of the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) in Morocco would arrive by the end of this month. Which reveals that there is a strong chance of the possibility of transformation until next year.

“We are supposed to play this year but we have teams participating in the Olympics, so we have to find another date,” Musingo Omba explained to BBC Sport Africa.

He added: “We are talking with UEFA, because most of the players play in Europe, and with the European Club Association and also with FIFA in order to find new players.” [a] “The right time.”

Meanwhile, Mosengo Omba confirmed that CAF may organize the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations, also scheduled to be hosted by Morocco, in early 2026 due to… Timing of the new Club World Cup organized by FIFA with the participation of 32 teams In June and July of next year.

“For the men, we need to make sure that the dates we choose will be in the best interests of the players,” the Swiss-Congolese said, highlighting issues related to the workload of the continent’s elite players.

“This is why we need to balance the different aspects and also discuss with our partners and then proceed [the dates]. Appointments are a nightmare for everyone.”

A big dilemma for the Women’s Nations Cup

CAF regulations stipulate that the two editions of the Nations Cup must be held once every two years, and not once every four, as is the case with most major tournaments organized by other continental federations.

However, this is putting pressure on the African game’s governing body to adapt its competitions to an ever-more crowded international calendar.

Qualifying for the 2024 World Cup It was completed last December, But deciding when to hold the 12-team finals is complicated by the fact that Nigeria and Zambia, nine-time champions, will participate in the Paris Olympics during July and August.

The 61-year-old told BBC Sport Africa: “If (Wafcon) is postponed or cancelled, it will be a very big disappointment,” noting that the 2020 Nations Cup was canceled due to the Corona virus pandemic, unlike the men’s tournament. The 2021 tournament has just been postponed.

“The growth of women’s football over the past two years has reached an all-time high, especially on the African continent.

“Just communicating whether or not it’s happening, so we know how to prepare moving forward.”

The growth of women’s football in Africa has been clearly demonstrated this year with record transfer fees for Zambian female players.

In February, striker Rachel Kundanangi was appointed New world record Upon joining US side Bay FC for $860,000 (£685,000) and the following month captained the Copper Queens. Barbara Banda She moved to the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League for $740,000 (£581,000).

Mosengo Omba says Caf’s only option for scheduling Wafcon this year would involve playing outside the agreed international window – meaning clubs would not have to reveal their star names.

“Are we playing the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations without our best players? This is something that I personally think is not good,” he said.

We can’t go back using only local (local) players. They are good, but the standard will not be the same.”

The alternative is to postpone until 2025.

Player welfare is a factor in the timing of the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Al Ahly, the 12-time African champions, will play in the expanded Club World Cup next year – but will also provide several players for the Egyptian national team.

When it comes to the men’s Africa Cup of Nations, the CAF “nightmare” has been caused by FIFA introducing an expanded Club World Cup.

“We have a problem that we are still discussing now with the same stakeholders and partners: the European Club Association, UEFA and FIFA,” Mosengo Omba said.

He denied that FIFA had pressured CAF not to hold the Africa Cup of Nations at the same time as the Club World Cup, something that CONCACAF, the continental confederation of North and Central America, decided to do with the Gold Cup competition.

It was FIFA Forced to defend Its new addition to the football calendar follows criticism from federations that players are being “pushed beyond their limits”.

He added: “We can play after the Club World Cup, but is this good for the benefit of the players who played all season and then travel to America to play?” [and then] Come immediately to play the Africa Cup of Nations? Musingo Omba continued.

“We have to balance this before [we] Make a decision.”

Despite concerns about the heat, the 2019 Nations Cup was hosted in Egypt in June and July that year, and the 2021 and 2023 editions were also scheduled to be held around the same time of year to avoid regular fixtures. The club’s struggle against the country Due to the tournament’s traditional time period from January to February.

However, the 2021 tournament in Cameroon was postponed to early 2022 due to pandemic and weather concerns, while the 2023 tournament in Ivory Coast was held earlier this year to avoid West Africa’s rainy season.

Although CAF has failed to achieve its goal of aligning the past two tournaments with the European football calendar, Mosengo Omba admits it could happen again in Morocco.

He added: “If this is in the player’s interest, then why not? Because we have to focus on the player.”

Meanwhile, the date of the qualifying draw for the 2025 African Cup of Nations is scheduled to be announced after the next meeting of the CAF Executive Committee.

The qualifiers are expected to be held in September, October and November this year.

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Veron Mosengo Omba was appointed CAF Secretary General in March 2021, having previously worked for FIFA.

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