AFCON 2025 dates nightmare for Man United, Chelsea & Co with Premier League hardest hit

AFCON 2025 dates nightmare for Man United, Chelsea & Co with Premier League hardest hit

Joel Omotto 18:32 - 22.06.2024

The English Premier League will be the hardest hit by the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations as the tournament will kick off during the busy festive period next year.

English Premier League clubs will suffer the most following the new dates for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations announced on Friday by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

CAF settled on between December 21, 2025, and January 18, 2026, for the tournament set to be held in Morocco and while it might be risky to predict the future, the arrangement spells doom for Premier League clubs.

This is because December and January is the busiest time for Premier League clubs with fixture congestion during the festive period where recovery time is just 48 hours.

It means every team need to have all their players available but with the new dates, the teams will have to release their players for the tournament so that they can link up with their national teams.

It might be argued that teams in England have always had to release players since the AFCON has been played in January and February, except in 2019, but that was after the fixture congestion.

Premier League managers have always lamented the short time that players have between matches in December and January and will not be happy with having limited options during such a busy period.

Unlike other European leagues which go on recess between December and January, the English top flight only recently introduced a short winter break, adding an extra layer of frustration.

The 2025 AFCON will take place midway through the 2025-26 campaign when some of the current African players in the Premier League might have changed homes but new ones would have arrived.

However, there are some certainties like Manchester United’s Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana, who will likely still be the Red Devils No1 beyond next season, now that manager Erik ten Hag is set to sign a new contract while Chelsea’s Ivorian striker Nicolas Jackson would probably be undroppable by then.

It means United and Chelsea would have to do without their first-choice goalkeeper and striker respectively during the busy festive fixtures which could have a bearing on their performances and placing on the league table.

Liverpool could also be impacted if Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah extends his current deal beyond the 2024-25 campaign as he is a vital cog for both the club and national team while West Ham might have to do without star midfielder Mohammed Kudus of Ghana if he does not make a move away.

Other teams likely to suffer big are Brentford: Frank Onyeka (Nigeria), Bryan Mbeumo (Cameroon), Yoane Wissa (DR Congo), Fulham: Calvin Bassey, Alex Iwobi (Nigeria), Fode Ballo-Toure (Senegal), Tottenham Hotspur: Yves Bissouma (Mali), Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal) and Arsenal if Ghanaian Thomas Partey extends his stay in North London.

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