Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed new dates for Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) and Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) due to the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The 2020 CHAN edition was supposed to be held in April this year but CAF announced on Tuesday that the tournament that features exclusively home based players will be staged next year. On the other hand, the 2021 AFCON was also postponed by a year to 2022.
This definitely will have effects on how CAF will manage the International calendar if the next editions have to remain unchanged.
Whereas the 16 teams that are supposed to take part in CHAN (2020) are already known after a successful qualification campaign, if the tournament takes place early next year as announced, CAF will have to take a decision on whether the 2022 edition will be staged in Algeria as per the normal format (biennial).
Considering Africa Cup of Nations has been pushed to January 2022, does that mean CAF will have to find alternative dates for CHAN in the same year? It should be noted that the previous editions of CHAN have been staged between January and February.
Besides, there is a qualification process that must be fixed within 2021 and this will happen in the mix of African Cup of Nations qualifiers (4 match days left) and FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Pushing Africa Cup of Nations to 2022 means teams that will qualify for the FIFA World Cup will be subjected to playing two major tournaments in the same year.
What effects will it have on the players?
Such a congested fixture coupled with club football will definitely have an effect on the players. Imagine a scenario where a player has to feature for his national team in CHAN, AFCON and FIFA World Cup in the same year.
Whereas it was necessary for CAF to postpone the 2020 CHAN and the 2021 AFCON, failure to address the possible crisis in the near future will come back to haunt.
Many football enthusiasts have a school of thought that it high time, CAF thought about changing Africa Cup of Nations from being a biennial tournament to quadrennial and taking place during the off season period (between June and July). The same can also apply to CHAN.