With the organization of the 2021 Club World Cup in China between mid-June and mid-July, the CAN could be delayed by several weeks. It would be a blow for the biggest African continental competition.
" FIFA's decision to host the Club World Cup in June means they are killing the African Cup of Nations. If you move the African Cup of Nations in July, it's worse than before (in January-February) for the clubs, " said the French coach of Togo Le Roy BBC Sport Africa.
Fifa on Thursday (October 24th) awarded the organization of the 2021 Club World Cup to China. This will be the first edition that will be contested by 24 teams (instead of seven), a reform desired by the president of the international football federation Gianni Infantino .
This competition will be held in place of the Confederations Cup, which takes place a year before the World Cup between mid-June and mid-July. Problem: It's also the date chosen by the African Football Confederation for the 24-team African Cup of Nations.
Two years ago, the African Football Confederation (CAF) opted for a CAN in the summer instead of January-February, mainly to avoid repeated conflicts between clubs and countries. If the Club World Cup takes the place of the CAN, it will again be a huge problem for African players playing in European clubs and there are many. What about the pre-season preparation and the rest of the players at least three weeks in the summer.
" We are still in a shambles and it will be at the expense of the CAN, " says Alain Giresse to RFI. The former coach of Tunisia is worried about the overload of the calendar. " The World Club at 24, the World Cup at 48, the European League of Nations , all this seems to be a real arms race. The big football authorities have to develop our sport. But here it is a waterlogging, a kind of asphyxiation. It's impossible to play the CAN and go on with a championship, "said the former coach of Mali. And add: " Over a period of 4 or 5 years, players will have a single year of normal vacation. They are men first and foremost. "
New puzzle for breeders of the African continent
When he was at the head of Senegal, Alain Giresse had to do without a major player that his club was reluctant to release in the middle of winter. This may now be a repeat encore and again a puzzle for breeders of the African continent. Do we imagine the Liverpool club accepting that Naby Keita, Sadio Mané or Mohamed Salah take vacations during pre-season preparation? Paradoxically, Fifa's president, Gianni Infantino, was brought to power by the vote of Africans and often expressed the wish to help the continent.
" This is not a good time to play in the Club World Cup, " said Khaled Mortagy, board member of the Egyptian club Al Ahly, at BBC Sport. The CAF, which draws its main revenues from the CAN, will face a huge problem. And the institution is now under control of Fifa. Last August, FIFA sent its own secretary general, Fatma Samoura, to assume the role of "general delegate" for Africa, to improve the governance of CAF.
" Since Africa is under the supervision of Fifa, do you think that Africa can have a real impact on the decisions of world football ? "Questions Claude Le Roy now.