Final Dates Announced for Afcon 2025 and Wafcon 2024

Final Dates Announced for Afcon 2025 and Wafcon 2024
GETTY IMAGES Image caption, Ivory Coast beat Nigeria in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in February as the Elephants secured their third continental title

This year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) will be held from December 2025 to January 2026, which is a big change from the usual timetable. At the same time, the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) has been moved up the calendar to July 2024 from its original postponement.

The 2025 Afcon: A Watershed Moment

With the confirmation of the 2025 Afcon by the Confederation of African Football (Caf), Morocco will play host to the tournament from 21 December 2025 to 18 January 2026. The new schedule for the 24-team tournament means that it will now take place over the same time as the Premier League and UEFA Champions League holiday match rounds. For the first time ever, Afcon will take place throughout the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

The end of the European club season has long coincided with June and July as the target dates for Caf’s main men’s tournament. But this change was made since that time was also going to be used for the first-ever FIFA Club World Cup, which will feature 32 teams. The rescheduling serves as a reminder of the persistent difficulties in synchronizing the calendars of international and club football.

Club Conflicts and Player Releases

There is still debate over who gets to play in the 2025 Afcon. The 2026 FIFA World Cup in the Americas can make European teams hesitant to release their star players because of the packed schedule of upcoming football tournaments. The availability of players for the Afcon is further complicated by the fact that clubs are not required by FIFA to release players for more than one “A” representative team final competition per year.

The extended Club World Cup is part of the “overloaded and unworkable” football schedule that the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has recently joined in suing FIFA over. The larger tension between club obligations and international responsibilities is highlighted by this legal action.


Image caption,
South Africa are the holders of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations

Difficulties in Scheduling

According to Veron Mosengo-Omba, secretary general of the Caf, the 2025 Afcon planning process was a “scheduling nightmare.” In order to establish a good date, Caf prioritised the wellbeing of the players and had lengthy talks with UEFA, FIFA, and the European Club Association. The choice to hold Afcon every two years, instead of every four like other major events, makes scheduling much more complicated.

Afcon has had a number of scheduling problems in recent years. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 finals had to be postponed to early 2022 in Cameroon, and the 2023 finals had to be postponed to early 2023 in Ivory Coast to avoid the rainy season in West Africa. It was “complex and at times challenging discussions” with many parties, according to Caf President Patrice Motsepe, to finalize the dates for the 2025 Afcon.

Controversy and Delay at Wafcon 2024

Updated to take place from July 5th to the 26th, 2024, the 2024 Wafcon will once again take place in Morocco. In light of the fact that the men’s 2021 tournament was just postponed and the women’s 2020 edition was canceled owing to the epidemic, this postponement makes one wonder if Caf is still committed to women’s football.

One reason for the postponement is because in July and August of 2024, the record-breaking nine-time champions, Zambia and Nigeria, will be competing in the Olympics in Paris. Desire Oparanozie, a Nigerian international, voiced her displeasure, saying that delaying the competition would impede the advancement of women’s football in Africa. Desiree Ellis, coach of the South African national team, shared South Africa’s disapproval with Caf’s response and stressed the need to keep the tournament schedule intact.

What Lies Ahead

Patrice Motsepe, president of the Caf, is still bullish on African football’s prospects. He was confident that Morocco’s 2024 Wafcon would be a smashing success and praised the continent’s achievement in expanding the sport.

In summary,

Both the 2025 Afcon and the 2024 Wafcon have been rescheduled, highlighting the continued difficulties of coordinating the international football schedule with club obligations. Despite these challenges, Caf’s primary goal is the promotion of football in Africa and the maintenance of the high profile and success of the men’s and women’s games. On July 4, the qualifying group draw will be held for the 2025 Afcon. September, October, and November will see matches scheduled, guaranteeing a competitive build-up to the historic tournament.


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