AFCON 2025: What new tournament dates mean for Kenya

The grand prize for the Africa Cup of Nations|CAF IMAGE

AFCON 2025: What new tournament dates mean for Kenya

Joel Omotto 12:48 - 22.06.2024

CAF announced new dates for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations and it will have an impact on a number of leagues including Kenya.

Confederation of African Football (CAF) finally announced the dates for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations and as expected, the tournament will not be held in the summer.

CAF revealed that the tournament in Morocco will start on Sunday 21 December 2025 and end on Sunday 18 January 2026 which will be a major disruption to a number of leagues in Africa while teams in Europe with players from qualified nations will have to release them.

This is likely to be the same scenario for Kenya if Harambee Stars qualify for the tournament. The draw for the AFCON 2025 will be conducted on July 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa with qualifying matches starting in September and if Kenya qualify, then the local league will have to take a longer break to allow the national team ample time to prepare and participate.

The AFCON was for many years held between January and February when the Kenyan league had not started before the country conformed to the FIFA calendar of August to May, starting with the 2018-19 season.

It coincided with Kenya’s return to AFCON in Egypt in 2019 when the tournament was switched to the summer date, which meant no disruption, as the FKF Premier League season was already done. However, it reverted to January and February in the last two editions which Harambee Stars missed.

Since the change to the May-August calendar, the Kenyan league takes a two-week break over the Christmas and New Year holiday before resuming in early January but with the new development, the FKFPL will have to take a break much earlier and resume in late January if Harambee Stars qualify.

However, this might also be dependent on how many local-based players make it to the national team in the event Kenya qualifies.

If the coach opts to fill his squad with foreign-based stars with just a few from local sides, it could be argued that there would be no need to stop the league if all teams have good enough squads to compete.

However, this will be highly unlikely looking at how coach Engin Firat has been selecting the team.

Firat has given opportunities to a host of local-based players with some of them, such as goalkeepers Patrick Matasi and Bryne Omondi, defenders Rooney Onyango and Aboud Omar, midfieder Kenneth Muguna and striker Benson Omala among his key players.

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