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Africa Cup of Nations

Salah, Achraf, Aubameyang, Mané, Mahrez... AFCON impact

Teams across Europe will again face disruption in the middle of the season, with the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations to take place in January.

Salah, Achraf, Aubameyang, Mané, Mahrez... AFCON impact
Getty Images

CAF has decided to move the Africa Cup of Nations back to January for the 2021 edition of the tournament, which is to be held in Cameroon.

African stars to go missing for clubs

The 2019 tournament – hosted by Egypt and won by Algeria – was held in July, as CAF elected to move the tournament to fit in line with the northern hemisphere summer, meaning clubs in Europe's major leagues were unaffected.

However, sweltering conditions in Egypt led to the decision to switch to tournament to June and July being questioned.

Now, it has been confirmed by hosts Cameroon that the 2021 AFCON shall take place in January and February due to concerns over the weather should the tournament have taken place later in the year.

"The AFCON 2021 will be played in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, 2021," a post on Cameroon's football federation's official Twitter account read.

"Dates [have been] changed for meteorological reasons at the request of Cameroon."

Cameroon was initially scheduled to host last year's tournament, but was stripped of it in November 2018 due to inadequate infrastructure.

This decision will see clubs that have African players as key members of their squads reorganise their rotation plans, and potentially bring in fresh blood, to compensate for the loss for that period. Reigning European champions Liverpool have been reliant on the goals of Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah for the past couple of seasons, while Naby Keita has been returning to his peak level following injury. Other African stars in the Premier League include Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez.

Real Madrid will also be an interested party in the decision, with on-loan Achraf Hakimi could be back with them after his impressive two-year stint with Borussia Dortmund.


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