CAF bows to players at odds with Afcon held in even years

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has bowed to players’

pressure by agreeing to stage the Africa Cup of Nations in years with odd

numbers, City Press can reveal.

Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba is among a host of top players

who have voiced their dissatisfaction at the timing of the event, especially in

the year of the World Cup – arguing that it was too taxing to play two major

tournaments in the same year.

But City Press has been reliably informed that the CAF executive

has decided the 2012 Afcon edition, which would be co-hosted by Gabon and

Equatorial Guinea, would be the last to be held in an even number.

All the countries that have qualified for the 2012 ­edition would

automatically qualify for the 2013 tournament as there won’t be enough time for

another round of qualifiers.

It is not yet clear what will happen to the 2014 World Cup

qualifiers, which CAF normally fuses with the Nations Cup qualifiers.

CAF president Issa Hayatou, responding to City Press’ query about

persistent calls for CAF to reschedule the tournament, revealed that the Afcon

programming had changed.

“Libya will host the 2013 Afcon tournament, because African players

get very tired playing in two major tournaments in the same year,” he said after

receiving the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo – one of the country’s highest

honours – during the ceremony held at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria on

Tuesday evening.

President Jacob Zuma ­bestowed the award on Hayatou for his

excellent contribution to the development of ­African soccer.

Hayatou’s executive has been under pressure from top players who

ply their trade in Europe to change the timing of the tournament as it clashed

with the World Cup years.

There have also been calls for the event to be held every four

years, like the World Cup and the Euro Championships and also during the off

season.


gershwin.chuenyane@citypress.co.za

timothy@citypress.co.za




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