Cameroon’s AFCON 2020 in Jan looks in doubt as shift to 2021 mooted

June 16 – More doubt is being cast on next year’s African Nations Cup in Cameroon because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tournament is reverting back to its traditional January slot and would be a huge boost to Cameroon which was initially scheduled to be the venue for the 2019 event before the Confederation of African Football (CAF) stripped the country of hosting rights because of delays in preparations and security concerns, and handed them 2021 instead.

Last month one unnamed CAF source said there was “almost no chance” the event would go ahead as planned and CAF’s Acting General Secretary Abdelmounaïm Bah has now implied that could indeed be the case because of the backlog of qualification matches and travel restrictions.

He told Radio Sport Info: “The international windows scheduled for March and June have been cancelled, but the months of October and November 2020 represent a lot of hope. We no longer include September in the strategies because it will quite complicated to have the teams travel from one country to another as early as September. International matches will be difficult to be held because of the travel factor.”

Bah further said that if AFCON fails to take place in January 2021, the next best option would be a 12-month delay so as not to compete with the European Championship and the Copa America, both of which have been postponed to next summer.

“If we cannot make up for the AFCON 2021 qualifiers in October and November, we will have to think of another plan… But today the longer the crisis lasts, the more this scenario deserves to be thought about. AFCON next January remains our number one priority. (But) January 2022 remains the second option. As everyone knows, playing in June/July in Cameroon is difficult because of the weather conditions.”

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