The President of the Confederation of African Football Patrice Motsepe has declared that the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will hold as scheduled.
2021 Africa Cup of Nations (also referred to as AFCON 2021 or CAN 2021), known as the TotalEnergies 2021 Africa Cup of Nations for sponsorship reasons is scheduled to be the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the biennial international men’s football championship of Africa organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The tournament will take place from 9 January to 6 February 2022.
He made this known while speaking to journalists in Cameroon, saying he will be in the country from January 7th.
“It will be a successful AFCON. We are ready to show the world the best of African football, not just the football but the culture and hospitality of Africa. I will be in Cameroon from January 7 and on January 9, the competition will kick off. We have to believe in ourselves and stop the skepticism.
“There are challenges all over the world but we have to be more optimistic and sometimes we are over critical of ourselves. We can host competitions that are as good as Europe and the rest of the world. Come Januuary 7, I will be here with my wife and children as we are now Cameroonians,” he concluded.
There have been calls for the tournament to be postponed due to the omicron variant by different stakeholders.
AFCON had already been pushed back due to the pandemic, with the tournament initially scheduled for the summer of 2020.
But the African Football Confederation (CAF) moved it to January 2020, before the pandemic forced the confederation into a one-year delay.
Europe’s top clubs are threatening not to release players for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon over fears surrounding its Covid-19 health protocol.
A number of Premier League teams had been due to lose players for the duration of the tournament, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealing talks had been taking place with a view to delaying the release of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.
The European Club Association, which represents leading clubs across the continent, made its concerns known to FIFA in a letter.
“With regards to applicable protocols, as far as we are aware, CAF (the Confederation of African football) has not yet made available a suitable medical and operational protocol for the AFCON tournament, in the absence of which clubs will not be able to release players for the tournament,” the ECA told football’s world governing body.