CAN 2022: Shift from Summer to Winter and its Impact on African Football

2024-01-12 07:09:00

In 2019, Algeria ended 29 years of wandering by winning the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. In addition to this second continental coronation, the Fennecs are also the winners of the first CAN contested in summer. But probably the last. After the Egyptian break, the African Cup of Nations returned to its original place in the calendar: in January and February, in full season. However, under the leadership of the former president of CAF, Ahmad Ahmad, wishing to give more visibility to the competition, the CAN is postponed, permanently it is believed, to the summer period.

Organized by Cameroon, CAN 2022 is held in January. “The date was changed for meteorological reasons at the request of Cameroon”, CAF justifies itself. According to this press release, the summer heat in Cameroon would have made the tournament too trying for the players. CAF would then have resolved to return the old version, despite the visibility and the clubs plunged into the middle of the championship and deprived of their African players.

A version which does not always hold water if we stick to certain African players. “After two or three days your body gets used to it. And even, sometimes you don’t even feel this changedetails former Malian international Ousmane Coulibaly for So Foot . In 2013, I left Brest to go to South Africa, and the climate was almost similar. In Port Elizabeth it was not at all hot, but very mild. »

The heat argument is, however, relevant for several other countries, as Guy Demel, former Ivorian international, testifies: “When you have countries where in two days, it rains the equivalent of a month in Europe, what can you do? Same in the Maghreb, with temperatures approaching 40 degrees. In Europe, would Sweden organize a tournament in winter for example? Well in Africa it’s the same. »

A conflict with the new Club World Cup?

But behind the very real climatic reasons lies a more unofficial motivation. Tired of the Confederations Cup, definitively wiped off the map since 2017, Fifa launched the Club World Cup project over the summer period. The upcoming arrival of the big meeting between clubs from the four corners of the planet therefore has the indirect effect of postponing the CAN until January. The international body wishes to avoid conflicts between major meetings, but above all to avoid the best clubs being deprived of their best players for its new baby.

READ ALSO. CAN 2024. Accused of theft in the locker room, Martin Hongla defended by the Cameroonian coach
As Fifa seeks to launch its new competition after the failure of the short-lived Confederations Cup, it wants to ensure that Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané will be in the game with Liverpool, just as Achraf Hakimi will be with PSG. Ditto for African teams like Al-Ahly or Wydad Casablanca, likely to be invited.

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