Caf postpones 2025 African Cup of Nations until following year to protect players from burnout

CONTINENTAL body the Confederation of African Football (Caf) has moved the 2025 African Cup of Nations to January 2026 in response to pressure that the tournament will clash with Club World Cup taking place in the US next year.


Morocco, had been due to host the African Cup of Nations between July and August 2025 and was hoping it would serve as a good prelude to then co-hosting the 2030 World Cup along with Spain and Portugal. However, next year will be busy as after the season ends, four African clubs will be participating in the expanded 32-team Club World Cup.


There will also be players participating for their European clubsides, which has led global footballing body Fifa to ask for a rethink. Responding to requests for a rescheduling so players are not over-exerted, Caf general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba, said the Nations Cup would now be held in early 2026.


He added that the tournament will be delayed by six months. Mr Mosengo-Omba highlighted concerns regarding player welfare, questioning the feasibility of players participating in both the Club World Cup and the African Cup of Nations consecutively.


Mr Mosengo-Omba said: “For the men, we need to make sure that the dates that we’ll be choosing will be in the interests of the players. For this, we need to balance different aspects and also discuss with our partners and then we complete the dates. Scheduling is a nightmare for everybody."


A total of 24 teams will qualify to play in the final tournament, including automatically-qualified hosts Morocco. All Caf member associations entered the competition, except Eritrea and Seychelles, who were excluded from the qualifiers.