What You Need To Know About The 2021 AFCON
The 33rd edition of the African Cup of Nations was initially scheduled to be held in 2021 but was postponed to 2022 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
After getting stripped of the rights to host the 2019 tournament due to infrastructural and insurgency issues, Cameroon will host the 2022 edition of the tournament — which will be held between January to February 2022.
Ivory Coast (the initial hosts of the 2021 edition) will host the tournament in 2023 while Guinea (initial hosts of the 2023 edition) will be the hosts in 2025.
The competition will take place in six different venues across 5 Cameroonian cities, which are: Yaounde, Douala, Garoua, Limbe, and Bafoussam.
The opening ceremony, opening match and the final will be at the 60,000 capacity Paul Biya stadium in Yaounde.
Twenty-four (24) teams will compete at the 2022 AFCON. They are: Cameroon (hosts), Senegal, Algeria, Mali, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Comoros, Gabon, Gambia, Egypt, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan, Malawi, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and *Benin/Sierra Leone.
The match between Benin and Sierra Leone, which was supposed to decide the last qualifying team was suspended due to Covid-19 test issues between both countries. The game has now been rescheduled to take place in June.
Both Gambia and Comoros have never qualified for the AFCON before and will be making their debut appearances in Cameroon.
The 24 teams will be drawn and divided into 6 groups, comprising of 4 teams each. The top two teams in each group and the best third-placed teams will advance to the round of 16.
Algeria are currently the defending champions of the AFCON.
Favourites at The AFCON 2022
Morocco: The Atlas Lions may have performed dismally at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, but they are huge favourites to claim the 2022 AFCON. Vahid Halilhodžić’s side boasts of the likes of Youssef En-Nesyri, Hakim Ziyech and Youssef El-Arabi.
Senegal: Aliou Cissé will hope to win this AFCON after a disappointing loss in the last edition. Senegal has many players performing at the top level in Europe.
Nigeria: The Super Eagles of Nigeria have a young squad that have started to gel under Gernot Rohr. They are one to watch next year.
Egypt: Mohammed Salah knows that he has arguably made a name as one of the greatest African players of all time. However, he needs to win the AFCON to cement that status.