The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, which was due to be held in Cameroon in January and February next year, has been postponed and is now expected to be played in January and February 2022 instead.
It means clubs sides who would have been at risk of losing key players midway through next season can now breathe a sigh of relief for another 12 months as the 2020/21 campaign won’t be affected.
Liverpool stood to be among the most badly hit as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita could have been absent for several weeks at a crucial time of the season. Other high profile Premier League players like Riyad Mahrez, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Eric Bailly Wilfried Zaha and Wilfred Ndidi might also been called up and mixed a chunk of next season.
The clash with the European club season has been a longstanding issue for the AFCON tournament and so the 2019 edition was actually played over the summer to combat that.
Similar was initially planned for 2021 (now 2022), only for the unfavourable climate in Cameroon in June and July to see it moved back to its former January/February slot.
Cameroon’s summer rainy season ensures that a June/July tournament is not really viable.