Caf set date for 2025 Afcon, Wafcon’s fate still hangs in the balance

Caf set date for 2025 Afcon, Wafcon’s fate still hangs in the balance

 Caf the governing body of football have admitted they face a “scheduling nightmare” for Africa’s premier men’s and women’s international football tournaments but dates for forthcoming editions are closer to being agreed, the BBC has been told.

During a rare in-depth interview Veron Mosengo-Omba, general secretary of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), promised that an announcement on the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) in Morocco would arrive by the end of this month – revealing there is a strong chance it could be switched to next year.

 “We are supposed to play this year but we have teams engaged in the Olympics, so we have to find another date,” Mosengo-Omba explained to BBC Sport Africa.

“We are talking with Uefa because most of the players are playing in Europe, the European Club Association, and also with Fifa to find [a] suitable date.”

Meanwhile, Mosengo-Omba confirmed that Caf could stage the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), also set to be hosted by Morocco, in early 2026 because of the timing of Fifa’s new 32-team Club World Cup in June and July next year.

“For the men, we need to make sure that the dates that we'll be choosing will be in the interests of the players,” said the Swiss-Congolese, highlighting issues around the workload of the continent’s elite players.

“For this, we need to balance different aspects and also discuss with our partners and then we complete [the dates]. Scheduling is a nightmare for everybody.”

Caf’s statutes say both iterations of the Nations Cup should be held once every two years - rather than once every four as is the case with most major championships organised by other confederations.

However, that puts pressure on the African game’s governing body to fit its competitions into an ever-more-crowded international calendar.

Qualifying for the 2024 Wafcon was completed last December, but deciding when to hold the 12-team finals is complicated by the fact that record nine-time winners Nigeria and Zambia will be participating in the Paris Olympics during July and August.

Desiree Ellis, coach of reigning continental champions South Africa, says the crowded schedule is evidence of rapid growth in the women’s game – but she remains critical of Caf’s handling of the situation.

“If it (Wafcon) is postponed or cancelled, it will be a huge, huge disappointment,” the 61-year-old told BBC Sport Africa, pointing out that the 2020 Nations Cup was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, unlike the men’s 2021 tournament which was merely postponed.