Africa Cup of Nations bosses adamant: VA tournament to take place
The Africa Cup of Nations is still expected to go ahead as planned next month, Sportsmail has been said, despite reports this morning suggesting the tournament may be scrapped with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus rapidly spreading around the world.
It has been claimed by RMC Sport in France that the Central African Federation (CAF) may have been forced to box the centerpiece, which will be held in Cameroon and is scheduled to start on January 9 and run through February 6.
But the organizers are adamant that the CAN will take place, a few weeks before the opening match, which means that a multitude of Premier League players, including Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane of Liverpool, are expected to leave their clubs in mid -season.
The tournament organizing committee met with CAF at the end of October to unveil its findings in a tournament preparation report.
The committee announced that “urgent attention” was needed for the competition to run safely.
One of the areas that needed urgent attention was the “health issues” linked to the coronavirus pandemic and the reception of fans in Cameroonian stadiums.
Africa Cup of Nations slated for January 2022 is still set to take place, organizers said
Cancellation of CAN would have been good news for Liverpool, who have African stars Sadio Mane (left) and Mohamed Salah (right) in their team
However, the same committee signed the organizational agreement between CAN and Cameroon, which stipulates that the tournament was to take place.
CAF General Secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba is now in Cameroon, it was revealed, and he joined the team on the ground to work with the local organizing committee and the Cameroonian government before the ‘event.
Yesterday, he held several meetings including the Minister of Sports, Professor Narcise Mouelle Kombi, and the Minister of Public Health, Manaouda Malachie.
“The meetings have been important to gain a level of understanding on the state of preparedness in Cameroon,” Mosengo-Omba said.
Cameroon-based tournament set to start on January 9, with the final on February 6
“There is a lot of work being done. We must continue on the same path. We cannot rest. We have to work around the clock.
“I am not resting, the LOC cannot rest. CAF cannot rest. Everyone must join in the effort. We want to see a big TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations here in Cameroon in January next year.
“Together with the Minister of Sports, we discussed all the outstanding issues and the way forward. “
New doubts over how the tournament will be organized would have been good news for Liverpool, who will lose key attacking duo Salah and Mane for a key part of their Premier League title challenge, if the competition goes ahead.
African players such as Arsenal’s Thomas Partey (left) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) must be released by their clubs by January 3.
WHAT GAMES * SALAH AND MANE MAY MISS FOR LIVERPOOL?
December 28: Leicester City (a) – championship
January 2: Chelsea (a) – championship
January 9: FA Cup third round (to be confirmed)
January 15: Brentford (h) – league
January 22: Crystal Palace (a) – league
January 29: FA Cup fourth round
February 9: Leicester City (h) – league
February 12: Burnley (a) – league
* In case Egypt and Senegal go far in CAN
Reports earlier this year said Premier League players may leave their clubs after Boxing Day matches in order to bypass quarantine rules in Africa to participate in the tournament on time.
But FIFA regulations state that players must be released by their clubs by January 3, which could be good news for Liverpool – who will face title rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge the day before that deadline. .
Players in the later stages of the tournament, including the final on February 6, may not be ready to play for their Premier League clubs again until the second week of the same month.
At this point – if the players left after the Boxing Day games – they would have already missed eight games, including six Premier League games and two FA Cup rounds, although travel plans for the England-based players have yet to be made. finalized. .
Arsenal are another team that will see several players fly to Africa for the tournament, striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon joining Ghanaian Thomas Partey, Egyptian Mohamed Elneny and Ivorian Nicolas Pepe in the tournament.
Watford will miss five players, including forwards Emmanuel Dennis (left) and Ismaila Sarr (right)
Chelsea will likely lose Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for the winter tournament, while Manchester City will face without Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez.
Watford could lose up to five players for the tournament, including main forwards Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Denni.
Leicester City, meanwhile, are set to lose four, with Nigerian duo Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfried N’Didi expected to be involved.
Crystal Palace could also do without three players with Wilfried Zaha and Cheikou Kouyate joining Ghanaian duo Jordan Ayew and Jeffrey Schlupp at CAN, while Aston Villa will lose three players – Marvelous Nakamba, Trezeguet and Bertrand Traoré.
Manchester United are only expected to lose Ivorian duo Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo for the tournament, while Tottenham have no African players who could be called up for the competition.
The tournament was scheduled to take place in June and July this year, but was postponed to early 2022 due to “adverse weather conditions” during the summer months, according to CAF.
Premier League stars at CAN
- Thomas Partey (Ghana)
- Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)
- Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
- Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)
- Mahmoud Trezeguet (Egypt)
- Bertrand Traoré (Burkina Faso)
- Wonderful Nakamba (Zimbabwe)
- Julian Jeanvier (Guinea)
- Frank Onyeka (Nigeria)
- Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Ghana)
- Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast)
- Edouard Mendy (Senegal)
- Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)
- Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)
- Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana)
- Jordan Ayew (Ghana)
- Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)
- Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)
- Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Ivory Coast)
- Daniel Amartey (Ghana)
- Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
- Nampalys Mendy (Senegal)
- Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria)
- Mo Salah (Egypt)
- Naby Keita (Guinea)
- Sadio Mané (Senegal)
- Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast)
- Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast)
- Moussa Djenepo (Mali)
- Mohammed Salisu (Ghana)
- Adam Masina (Morocco)
- Emmanuel Dennis (Nigeria)
- Ismaila Sarr (Senegal)
- Peter Etebo (Nigeria)
- William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria)
- Romain Saiss (Morocco)
- Willy Boly (Ivory Coast)