A possible conflict with the redesigned Club World Cup, scheduled for mid-2025, has left the dates of the next Africa Cup of Nations finals in Morocco uncertain.

To avoid player conflicts with club commitments, they shifted the Cup of Nations dates to the beginning of the year. It all started from the 2019 edition in Egypt, initially scheduled to take place mid-year.

Cameroon and Ivory Coast’s rainfall shifted the last two Africa Cup of Nations to January and February. The COVID-19 pandemic imposed an additional postponement of 12 months on the 2021 Cameroon finals.

Meanwhile, weather worries led to the 2023 Ivory Coast tournament starting six months later than originally planned. This year’s event began this Saturday in Abidjan with the hosts defeating Guinea-Bissau 2-0 to get the tournament underway.

Talks for summer tournament

Now the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have been relentless in their pursuit of June and July as the dates for the continental competition. The 2025 edition’s schedule is still a topic of intense negotiation between CAF and FIFA.

Ahmed Yahya, the second vice-president of CAF revealed the ongoing talks back in October. In theory, he suggested the best time to hold the Africa Cup of Nations would be the summer of 2025.

“At the CAF level, we are aware that there is the Club World Cup in 2025, and there are negotiations between CAF and FIFA to find solutions”, he told Canal + Sport Africa.

“What is certain is that we are looking for the interest of the AFCON, which is to play in the summer because it is there that we have the opportunity to have free players, more than in January.”

“Morocco has the same temperature as Europe. We manage to play the European Cup in the summer without any problem. It’s playable in the summer.”

Club World Cup obstacle

In 2025, the United States is set to host an expanded 32-team Club World Cup, presenting a scheduling challenge. This might cause a scheduling conflict with that year’s African Cup of Nations, which Morocco will host.

CAF, intending to host the Club World Cup in the US, has a limited timeframe to convince FIFA to alter the schedule.

In the enlarged Club World Cup, two African teams have already secured their spots: Egypt’s Al Ahly and Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca. Those clubs have a long history of sending players to represent their respective national teams on the international stage.

Soccer experts have mixed feelings about whether or not to hold the 2025 African Cup of Nations in the summer. Keeping the competition fair and competitive while dealing with weather issues is crucial to the event’s success.

From 1968 until 2017, AFCON took place in the first three months of the year, which has since become a very contentious topic.

“We want the Cup of Nations to take place when it is most favourable and convenient for the tournament. We are still engaging with Fifa about the dates”, CAF president Patrice Motsepe has also added.

Photo credit: IMAGO / NurPhoto.