Africa Cup of Nations to be played in January

Premier League clubs face losing star players as 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is moved from summer to January

Premier League clubs face losing star players as 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is moved from summer to January

The Africa Cup of Nations will revert back to its traditional slot in January and February next year to avoid the rainy season, the football federation of host country Cameroon (FECACOOT) said on Wednesday.

The Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot) has announced that the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will kick off on 6 January. "Date changed for weather reasons at Cameroon's request", Fecafoot posted online.

The 24-nation competition was originally planned to begin in June, but the Cameroonian soccer federation said Wednesday it will be held from January 9-Feb.

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) and Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast) are also likely to feature in addition to Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez as well as a number of other Premier League club first-team players.

The tournament, played every two years, was switched to June-July last year when it was played in Egypt, avoiding disruption to the European club season but provoking concerns about high temperatures.

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The tournament was originally scheduled to take place in the off-season in Europe but a request from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and other stakeholders citing the weather conditions forced the change.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) said they accepted the request from the hosts.

"After having heard the various arguments, in particular those of the meteorological officials of Cameroon, and the representatives of coaches and players, the AFCON Organizing Committee, which received the mandate from the CAF Executive Committee to decide, acceded favorably to this request".

"A detailed reported shall be presented to the members of the Executive Committee during its next session on 6 February".

The Central African country was initially scheduled to be the venue for the 2019 Cup of Nations but CAF stripped it of its hosting rights in late 2018 because of delays in its preparations. It subsequently agreed to host the 2021 tournament instead.

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