When Afcon, CAF CL, CHAN and other fixtures might restart

Africa Cup of Nations, CAF Champions League, African World Cup qualifiers – the list goes on. There’s a whole lot of football to catch up with.

On Tuesday, African football’s top bras will discuss the restart of the sport across the continent. With a myriad logistical complication to consider, one of the key priorities is the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

African countries have suffered to varying degrees from the pandemic with South Africa the hardest hit among those south of the Sahara.

Considerations include the rescheduling of some tournaments to accommodate upcoming ones and taking into account the conclusion and the restart of European leagues – for players who ply their trade overseas.

Here’s the current state of play for the key African football competitions.

wdt_ID Competition Status Scheduling status Dates Likely outcome

African World Cup qualifiers

 The first round of fixtures with 40 contenders for five places at the 2022 tournament in Qatar were supposed to be played last March, but were postponed to October.  

These fixtures will almost certainly be delayed further in a bid to conclude the qualifying rounds for the 2021 African Cup of Nations.

African champions Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Egypt, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo are seeded to win the four-team mini-leagues.

In November 2021, at the earliest, there will be five home-and-away ties among the group table-toppers with the winners securing flights to Doha.

Status: Not yet started, likely to be rescheduled.

Africa Cup of Nations

There are four rounds of qualifying to go for the tournament next January and February in Cameroon, the central African country which last hosted the tournament in 1972.

That means two rounds each must be played in the 5-13 October and 9-17 November FIFA windows.

If only the November window is available, the qualifying could still be completed if the organisers scrap results from the first two rounds and choose one of two other options.

CAF could create two home-and-away ties in each group with the overall winners qualifying, or play single-round mini-leagues with the first two finishers in each flying to Yaounde.

Status: The future of both the qualifiers as well as the tournament scheduled for 2021  remains uncertain.

African Nations Championship

Cameroon were also due to host the 16-nation tournament reserved for footballers playing in their country of birth. But that was due to take place form 4-25 April.

Finding new dates will be challenging, however, the Nations Championship is not dependent on an international window as foreign-based professionals are not involved.

Defending champions Morocco are due to defend a title they won for the first time two years ago by overwhelming ten-man Nigeria 4-0 in rain-lashed Casablanca.

Togo, the only first-time qualifiers, have been dealt a massive blow by the death this month of star forward Kossi Koudagba, 25, from malaria.

Status: Tournament postponed, current status uncertain.

CAF Champions League

The continental club showpiece has reached the semi-finals. The rescheduling here could, perhaps, be slightly less complicated with the only four teams remaining coming from Egypt and Morocco.

CAF says option one is playing the home-and-away semi-finals on 31 July and 2 August and  7-9 August. A one-leg final can then be played in Cameroonian port city Douala on 28 August 28.

The second option is staging the semi-finals on 4-6 September and 11-13 September  with the final on 25 September.

Casablanca clubs Raja and Wydad will enjoy home advantage first against Cairo outfits Zamalek and record eight-time African champions Al Ahly respectively in the penultimate stage.

Status: Semi-finals and finals still to be decided, no confirmed date.

CAF Confederation Cup

There are also two scenarios for the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League with the two sets of semi-finals dates the same as those of the Champions League.

If CAF go with the first option, the final in Moroccan capital Rabat is scheduled for 23 August, and if the second scenario comes into play the title decider will be on 23 September.

Renaissance Berkane, Confederation Cup runners-up to Zamalek last season after a penalty shootout, face fellow Moroccan club Hassania Agadir in the semi-finals.

Pyramids FC, a rapidly rising Egyptian club thanks in part to a massive injection of Saudi and Emirati funds to buy players, tackle Horoya of Guinea in the other half of the draw.

Status: Semi-finals and finals still to be decided, no confirmed date.

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Staff Reporter