The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is reportedly close to cancelling the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), slated for Cameroon early next year.
According to information reported by the authoritative RMC Sport in France, the continent’s football governing body has begun engaging stakeholders, and it could announce the decision to cancel the competition in the coming hours.
While the official decision has not yet been communicated, the reason for the cancellation can be linked with the organizational difficulties related to Covid-19 and its new Omicron variant.
The potential cancellation would be good news to many English clubs who have not hidden their discontent with losing important players in the coming weeks.
African players called up by their respective national teams are expected to observe a quarantine upon their return to the UK, which would force the various clubs to be deprived of their services for a longer period.
Everton’s Alex Iwobi, Leicester City duo of Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho, Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis and William Troost-Ekong, and Brentford’s Frank Onyeka are the Nigerian internationals in the Premier League.
Rangers Joe Aribo, Leon Balogun, and Calvin Bassey also play in the Scottish Premiership.
Initially scheduled for mid-2021, the Afcon date was first shifted back to January 2021 due to climatic conditions before the coronavirus pandemic forced it to be moved to January 2022.
The Super Eagles are among the 24 teams to have qualified for the Afcon, with the three-time champions already drawn in Group D alongside Egypt, Sudan, and Guinea-Bissau.
Algeria are the tournament’s defending champions following their victory over Senegal in the final of the 2019 edition held in Egypt.
Nigeria, then led by German coach Gernot Rohr, finished third after beating Tunisia in the bronze medal match.