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African sports journalists voice concern over CAF Afcon timing

Wednesday, July 10th, 2024 13:00 | By
Nigeria celebrate after winning AFCON match against Cameroon. PHOTO/CAFOnline
Nigeria celebrate after winning AFCON match against Cameroon. PHOTO/CAFOnline

African sports journalist have voiced their concern with the uncertainty surrounding the programming of the African Cup of Nations saying it has caused anxiety on the future of Africa’s most prestigious competition.

In an open letter signed by Abdoulaye Thiam, on behalf of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), and copied to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) President Patrice Motsepe, the journalists argued that the external influence and the overload of the international calendar had increased scepticism surrounding the survival of the tournament in the future.

“The stuttering and uncertainties surrounding the programming of the (Afcon) leave many wondering about the future of our continent’s most prestigious competition, which is struggling to find a place in the international calendar,” read part of the statement obtained by People Sports.

AIPS Africa president Abdoulaye Thiam. PHOTO/PRINT

“Added to this, the external influences and the overload of the international calendar, modelled on the European interests, increase the scepticism surrounding the survival of Caf’s most lucrative and economically viable tournament.”

The statement further claimed that Africa was suffering because of the war between UEFA and the world governing body Fifa.

“Since 2017, African Football has been struggling to control its agenda. Recurring scheduling problems have made Caf a victim of collateral damage from the “war” between UEFA and Fifa. Indeed, the European Football governing body contributed to overloading the international calendar with the creation of the Nations League, which is played on Fifa dates,” explained the statement.

“As a result, therefore, it is rare, if not impossible, for an African team to find a European team to spar with, except when they share the same group in a World Cup draw every four years.

“As for Fifa, in addition to the Arab World Cup, it has also created the Club World Cup. Worse still, it decided to stage the latter competition from June 15 to July 13, 2025, a period initially chosen by Morocco to host the Afcon 2025.

In fact, Cairo’s dependence on Zurich enabled Fifa’s latest competition to happily shake up the 67-year-old Afcon.”

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