Emerse Fae: 5 reasons why Africa Cup of Nations should shift to four-year cycle

Emerse Fae: 5 reasons why Africa Cup of Nations should shift to four-year cycle

Festus Chuma 06:49 - 11.07.2024

Emerse Fae advocates for the Africa Cup of Nations to shift from a biennial to a quadrennial schedule for efficiency.

Ivory Coast national team head coach, Emerse Fae, has sparked discussion with his proposal that the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) shift from its biennial schedule to a quadrennial one.

Amidst ongoing debates about the timing of the tournament and the release of players from club duties, Fae argues that fewer tournaments could mean fewer headaches for everyone involved.

Pulse Sports look at five reasons why Fae believes moving AFCON to a four-year cycle could be beneficial as per his interview with BBC.

1. Alignment with global football calendars

Fae argues that aligning AFCON with the scheduling norms of other major continental tournaments, like the UEFA European Championship and the Copa America, which are held every four years, could resolve many logistical challenges.

“It will be good to be as in Europe and South America and play every four years,” Fae noted.

This change would ease the tension between clubs and countries over player releases that currently arises due to the tournament's timing during the European club season.

2. Enhanced player performance and welfare

By extending the period between tournaments, players would arguably have fewer games to play, which could lead to better health and peak performance levels.

“I think it will be easier for the players, because they will have less games and will maybe be stronger if they play less,” Fae explained.

This reduction in the number of high-stakes matches could help in managing player fatigue and injuries, thereby extending their careers.

3. Increased tournament prestige and interest

Holding the tournament every four years could potentially increase its prestige and the general public's interest in each edition.

The rarity of the event could make it a more anticipated spectacle, enhancing viewer engagement and media coverage across the globe.

This can also boost sponsorship and broadcasting deals, further supporting the financial health of African football.

4. Financial stability and strategic planning

The current two-year cycle, while financially significant for the Confederation of African Football (CAF), poses challenges in terms of long-term planning and investment.

Spreading the tournament over a four-year cycle could allow for better financial planning and increased investment in grassroots and infrastructural projects, which are vital for the sustainable development of football in Africa.

5. Minimizing conflicts with major tournaments

The rescheduling issues that have plagued recent editions of Afcon could be mitigated by a shift to a four-year cycle.

For instance, the 2025 Afcon has been scheduled for December-January, overlapping with the festive period and clashing with FIFA’s newly expanded Club World Cup.

These overlaps strain relationships between clubs, players, and national teams.

A four-year interval could provide more flexibility and fewer overlaps with other major tournaments.