When the timing of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) was being changed from January to June – July, there were salutations.

January being the way half mark of every footballing season world over, a few African stars plying their trade outside the boarders of the continent would forego the AFCON for their respective club duties.

But, considering June – July, would give them no option than to grace the championship.

The main concern has been the high temperatures and humidity levels throughout the championship in Egypt.

In Cairo alone, the temperatures as high as 41.5 degrees were recorded with the lowest falling to 27 degrees.

Morocco players splash the water to cool off during the end of a game at AFCON 2019 in Cairo
Egypt’s Baher Moursi drinking water

Case of player dehydration were visibly noted during games with others collapsing.

Uganda Cranes were victims of the excessive heat and players were seen hydrating themselves more often.

The case study were two games; 2-0 win over DR Congo and the 2-0 loss to Egypt.

In the Egypt game, goalkeeper and captain Dennis Onyango was stretchered off with adverse effects of the heat.

Denis Onyango down after flu and dehydration effects

“I don’t think we should be playing under so much heat. It shouldn’t be happening but I guess there are a lot of fixtures, television has to show the games so we can’t complain about it – we just have to push ourselves. It lowers the intensity of the game – that’s the only way you can manage the game.” Emmanuel Okwi was quoted by the media.

Temperatures are measured before every game, using the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature – whereby heat stress on the body is measured by a composition of temperature, solar radiation, humidity and wind speed – with any reading over 32 degrees Celsius requiring water breaks to be taken in both halves.

Denis Onyango being stretchered off in Uganda Cranes’ game against Egypt at Cairo International Stadium

Officials from African football’s ruling body, CAF indicated their keenness for players to take water whenever there are breaks in play for injuries.

Eighteen minutes from time, Uganda captain Denis Onyango was stretchered off as the heat compounded the effects of a flu he had been feeling before the game.

Personally, the heat affected my work station as the PC often over heated and froze to pause the work.

Fans, officials, journalists and players have been sweating profusely.

Luckily, water and other drinks have been in abundance throughout the championship.

The temperatures at Cairo International Stadium on the day hosts Egypt faced Uganda Cranes

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

Leave a comment

Please let us know what you think