The Africa Cup of Nations, or simply AFCON, is one of the biggest soccer competitions in Africa.
The next edition is set to start in January 2022 in Cameroon, however, political and sanitary issues in Cameroon are beginning to worry other competitors and even clubs from other continents.
What to expect from this competition?
The first Africa Cup of Nations happened in 1957, but since 1968, the competition has been held every two years.
The first edition had only four teams: Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Africa. South Africa ended up being eliminated as a punishment for the apartheid at home.
The AFCON is now 64 years old, and it has gained many other participants over the years.
Eventually, the AFCON became so large that it was necessary to organize qualifying rounds.
In 1998, the number of participants was already 16. In 2017, eight teams were added to the event, also moved on the calendar, from January to June. Nowadays, the AFCON is one of Africa’s most important sporting events.
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Egypt won the competition more times than any other nation. It was seven times, against five from Cameroon and four from Ghana.
Visit 10bet Africa for more detailed statistics. The competition has been happening in odd years since 2017.
However, 2021 had to be postponed and is now scheduled to happen next January in Cameroon.
Cameroon has already been stripped out of its hosting rights once. The country was set to host the 2019 edition, which had to be changed over the ongoing civil war’s sanitary issues and safety concerns.
CAF has then conceded the 2021 edition to Cameroon to compensate for the previous cancellation.
However, this edition had already been awarded to Ivory Coast back in 2014. The situation is even more frustrating for Ivorians, considering Cameroon hasn’t improved its condition considerably.
European clubs are questioning FIFA about safety conditions for players in the next AFCON since many are playing in Europe.
The EPL is one of the favourite soccer events for African fans, and the list of African players in that competition is pretty long.
There are at least 42 African players permanently hired by English teams.
So, when African countries call their best players back home for AFCON, the impact can be felt in some major European leagues, including the EPL.
Other major European leagues may also feel the impact when AFCON kicks in, like the French, German, and Italian leagues.
At least 17 names are being called for the next AFCON, only in the EPL.
Crystal Palace seems to be the hardest hit club, and it’ll probably lose four of its main players during the AFCON.
Here’s a list of players from the EPL that’ll probably come back home between January and February 2022.
- Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace FC
- Cheikou Kouyate – Crystal Palace FC
- Jordan Ayew – Crystal Palace FC
- Sadio Mane – Liverpool
- Naby Keita – Liverpool
- Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal
- Mohamed Elneny – Arsenal
- Edouard Mendy – Chelsea
- Ismaila Sarr – Watford FC
- Kelechi Iheanacho – Leicester City
- Wilfried N’Didi – Leicester City
- Eric Bailly – Manchester United
- Riyad Mahrez – Manchester City
The Black Star is a fearsome power on the African stage. It’s the third country in the number of titles in the competitions, with four of them.
Ghana hostee the AFCON for the last time in 2008, but it’s consistent presence on the podium, as runner-up or third place, between 2008 and 2017.
There are so many Ghanaian players in major European leagues that they could almost make an entire team themselves.
There are 19 of them, including names like Jeffery Schlupp, Jordan Ayew, and Thomas Partey, only from Crystal Palace.
Alex Djiku, John Boye, and Majeed Waris are expected to return from France. Since Ghana managed to stay on the podium for almost ten years, we can expect a very strong contender for the next AFCON.
Despite concerns regarding the players’ safety and health, the competition seems to be on track to happen next January.
A CAF’s committee visited Cameroon recently to assess the situation.
By the end of the visit, the committee subscribed to an Organising Agreement, meaning that the competition would happen as scheduled.
What we are sure of is that the upcoming AFCON will be one for the books and we are sure to see pure talent on the field.