Confusion reigns as uncertainty clouds future of CHAN amid CAF's silence

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Confusion reigns as uncertainty clouds future of CHAN amid CAF's silence

Festus Chuma 17:33 - 22.06.2024

On Friday CAF's meeting ended without clarifying plans for CHAN 2024 and other key continental football events.

The Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) convened on Friday to deliberate on several pressing issues, notably the scheduling of upcoming tournaments.

However, clarity remains elusive for the 2024 African Nations Championship (CHAN) further complicating the organization’s tournament calendar.

Despite expectations, CAF did not confirm the status or venue for CHAN 2024 which had been initially earmarked for Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

This ambiguity raises concerns about the readiness and commitment of the host nations and CAF’s logistical planning capabilities.

This has left member associations, fans, and stakeholders in a state of suspense questioning where or even if the tournament will proceed as scheduled.

Further adding to the uncertainty, CAF has remained silent about the location for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in 2028.

Given the significance of this tournament in promoting women's football across the continent, the lack of information is particularly troubling.

The indecision is allegedly attributed to internal conflicts and logistical challenges within CAF’s planning committees.

While CAF announced the next Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for 2025 to be hosted by Morocco, shifting the tournament dates to December 2025 and January 2026 to avoid clashing with the Club World Cup, it did not clarify the status of AFCON 2027.

Traditionally, AFCON has not been held in consecutive years, leading to speculation about the feasibility of the 2027 tournament already slated for Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

This ongoing confusion is exacerbated by a desire to avoid scheduling conflicts with major European competitions, such as the UEFA Champions League.

The overlapping schedules could affect player availability and create logistical nightmares for teams and leagues around the world.

This is a particularly acute issue for African players in European leagues, where clubs may be reluctant to release players during the congested festive fixtures.

Adding to the complexity, English media have highlighted potential resistance from Premier League clubs, which might be compelled by regulations to release players for only one international championship per year.

The debate continues about whether the 2025 AFCON, extending into early 2026, counts as a 2025 or 2026 tournament—a distinction that could impact player participation.

As CAF prepares to draw teams for the AFCON qualifiers next month, the broader implications of its scheduling decisions—or lack thereof—are coming into sharper focus.

The organization’s ability to manage its calendar effectively will be crucial in maintaining the integrity and continuity of continental football.

Meanwhile, the African football community awaits definitive answers that could reshape the landscape of international football on the continent.

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