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Sports News of Thursday, 28 May 2020


Afcon 2021: Top coaches want new date for tournament

Algeria won the last edition of the African Cup of Nations Algeria won the last edition of the African Cup of Nations

A number of coaches have waded into the ongoing debate on what to do with next year’s Africa Cup of Nations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In separate exclusive interviews with Juliet Bawuah, the coaches said given prevailing conditions, the most practical thing to do is to move it forward.

Former Zambia, Ivory Coast and Morocco coach Herve Renard said “the most important thing now is to finish the qualifiers and it will be very tough”.

He added: “It will be very tough but not only in Africa, everywhere around the world it will be very tough because we are late now. So, maybe, they will have to move it forward to June.”

Making a convincing point for his argument, Renard said: “We can’t only think about football. It is good to finish the competition but this is not just about football; it is about people. Football without fans, for me, is not football. It will be very difficult; there will be no atmosphere, no colours, no music, no dance. In Africa, how do you play the Africa Cup of Nations without the fans. It’s not possible.”

Djibouti coach Julien Mette, however, argued that moving it forward is the best thing to do instead of a complete cancellation.

“I think it is better to play the Africa Cup of Nations six months after January.”

Zambia Coach Milutin Sredojevic said: “I don’t agree that it should be cancelled entirely. I believe that everything will go away soon. The Afcon is like our World Cup. Football is supposed to give hope to Africans that it is possible for life to return to normal.”

As opinions pour in, pressure is mounting on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to decide on what next for the 2021 Afcon.

CAF says a decision will be taken soon.

The 2021 Afcon is scheduled for January 9 to February 6.