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Afcon finals could return to original schedule

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Clement Kafwafwa

Confederation of African Football (Caf) is considering rescheduling Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals to January and February again after next year’s tournament in Cameroon.

The Afcon finals were held in June and July for the first time in Egypt last year with 24 teams participating.

The return of the competition to the original months would likely renew tensions with European clubs that try to cling on to their African stars during crucial periods of their respective league seasons.

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The continental football governing body’s newly appointed acting General Secretary, Abdel-Moneim Bah, was quoted by ghanasoccernet.com saying that the finals might return to the original months again after next year’s edition.

“The vision of Caf is clear, which is that the Nations Championship should be held in the summer. The local authorities in Cameroon requested that the tournament be held in January and February due to climatic conditions at the time of June and July.

“We were between playing difficult climatic conditions, facing the possibility of postponing many matches or playing in January and February, and facing the permanent problem related to the availability of players. This is an exception and is supposed to come back to the summer afterwards,” the online publication quoted Bah as saying.

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The continental football governing body suspended all Afcon qualifiers last month due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malawi national football team, currently third in Group B of the competition’s qualifiers with three points from two games, was due to play Burkina Faso last month.

Uganda lead the group with four points, at par with Burkina Faso but the Cranes have a better goal difference.

Malawi last qualified for the Afcon finals when the tournament was held in Angola some 10 years ago.

Flames Team Manager, Clement Kafwafwa, said he would prefer the finals in summer.

“Given a choice, I would personally go for summer. This would be ideal because in summer, more people would attend matches as the conditions are ideal for such a big competition,” Kafwafwa said.

In another development, Caf has announced the indefinite postponement of its club competitions, the Champions League and Confederation Cup due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We have to say we are fortunate that we are about to finish the two competitions as only the semifinals and finals remain. Certainly today, we hope that this crisis will be over by the summer and the matches will be scheduled as soon as possible, perhaps in mid June, July or August but for us there is no plan to cancel,” ghanasoccernet.com quoted Ba as saying.

Globally, football faces an uncertain future this year as all leagues have been suspended due to the pandemic which has killed thousands across the world.

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