The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has postponed the 2022 African Cup of Nations draw, citing logistics reasons.
Africa’s supreme football body initially had the group stage draw planned in host country, Cameroon on June 25. There has now been a U-turn as the 24 qualified teams for next year’s showdown will have to wait for instructions from CAF.
CAF said on their website, “At the request of CAF, the Cameroon Local Organizing Committee (LOC) has agreed to postpone the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021 final draw for logistical reasons related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The draw was initially scheduled for 25 June 2021 and a new date will be announced in due course.
“CAF continues to work together with its partners, the Cameroon government and the LOC with the objective of making the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021 a successful event and a great celebration of African football.”
It should be recalled that Africa’s historic competition has already been postponed before CAF decided on January 2022.
It was initially slated for Cameroon between June and July 2021 but it was later changed to be within January/February after considering climatic conditions in the middle of the year.
Algeria are the reigning champions after defeating Senegal in 2019’s showpiece in Egypt.
Three-time champions Nigeria, meanwhile have not won the competition since the 2013 edition in South Africa. They finished third in the competition in 2019 and having qualified for Cameroon 2022, will be eager to flex their status as favourites for the competition.
Gernot Rohr’s side gave a strong showing in the qualification stage but against lowly-ranked teams, it will be interesting to see if he can guide the nations to gold against teams possessing the best players in the world. That in its right cannot be based on the disappointing defeat against Cameroon in the weekend’s friendly but hope is flying high- if for the umpteenth time- as the nation prepares for 2022.
Road to 2022
Rohr’s men still have some friendlies and importantly, the World Cup qualifiers to prepare for next year’s AFCON tournament. They face Cameroon again on Tuesday, hoping to avenge their 1-0 loss, before taking on Mexico in another friendly on the July 4th. Thereafter, the World Cup qualifying games continue against Liberia, Central African Republic and Cape Verde.