How AFCON will affect your club
International breaks and tournaments have long been a bug bear for managers at the top level of the club game and the Africa cup of nations which has always been run mid-season. Founded in 1957 a year before the European championships. The Afcon is one of the most prestigious and passionately supported competitions in the international football calendar but has come under increasing scrutiny over the last 30 years with more and more of the continent's top professionals playing in europe and with club competitions like the premier league and champions league becoming ever more lucrative and powerful.
Following a move to a summer competition in 2019, the caf's decision to move the latest events of January 2022 will of course bring disruption to a number of top clubs. Meanwhile the global pandemic and emergence of the Omicron variant which was first reported in South Africa has also led the european club association to seek urgent talks with Fifa over player welfare at the tournament
With the organization reportedly keen to avoid the problems faced during the September international break when premier league clubs refused to release players traveling to countries on the UK'S red list and a world cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina had to be abandoned.
But which clubs will be most affected by the tournament in Cameroon and is the scrutiny that the AFCON receives fair let's find out so why is the africa cup of nations not taking place in the summer initially scheduled to be played in June and July 2021, the Cameroon tournament was moved to January due to concerns over weather conditions and then postponed until 2022 partly due to delays in qualifying incurred by the global pandemic.
Summer marks the height of the rainy season in Cameroon with the country seeing 7.7 inches of rainfall in july and 9.3 inches in August for comparison the UK's wettest month october generally sees around 3.6 inches of rainfall. So, it makes sense as to why they didn't want to risk playing such a big tournament in such conditions.
Despite the push in recent years for the AFCON to avoid clashing with the european club season, this pressure led to the last tournament held in Egypt being put on in the summer of 2019.
Temperatures can reach over 40 degrees celsius in the north african nation during this time and within the first 10 days of the competition starting one player had collapsed in training from dehydration while Uganda captain Dennis Onyango had to be stretched off during a match for similar reasons.
Concerns over the heat may well have played a part in the decision to make AFCON a winter tournament again time round. After all south Africa where January is the height of summer have been hosts in the past with games almost exclusively kicking off in the evenings to avoid the hottest hours of the day and this was a major criticism of the tournament in Egypt, where a number of group games kicked off in the afternoon exposing players to scorching heat largely due to fixture congestion caused by expanding the tournament from 16 to 24 teams.
It also affected the quality of entertainment with players having to conserve energy in the heat games that kicked off at 4 30 pm featured just 1.1 goals on average. Whereas evening games after 9 pm averaged 2.5 goals.