Afcon and Wafcon Morocco dates announced

Banyana Banyana are the current Women’s Africa Cup of Nations champions. | BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana are the current Women’s Africa Cup of Nations champions. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 24, 2024



THE technical teams of Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana will be highly relieved now that CAF has announced the dates of the continent’s premier team events Afcon and Wafcon.

CAF has tried to stage these continental events every two years because these tournaments produce an important source of CAF's revenue. CAF made a $80 million profit from the last Afcon, hosted by the Ivory Coast in January and February this year. This was a dramatic increase from previous editions, which produced an average profit of around $4m.

Other Fifa federations stage their continental team events, like the European Championship, Copa America and Asian Cup, every four years.

Ivory Coast won the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year. | Backpagepix

Banyana Banyana, the reigning Wafcon champions, toured Senegal last month and they said it was part of the team’s preparation for Wafcon, presumably later this year.

Now CAF has announced there will be no Wafcon this year. The Wafcon 2024 showpiece will be played in Morocco in July 2025.

The Afcon 2025 showpiece will be in the middle of the festive period next year. It starts on December 21, 2025 and ends on January 18, 2026 in Morocco.

This will be bad news for teams in Europe because they are set to lose their African footballers much sooner, especially in the Premier League when the festive schedule takes place over the Christmas / New Year period.

There is also a World Cup in 2026 (June 11 to July 19, 2026) and Premiership clubs could refuse their African players leave in January 2026. According to Fifa rules, clubs are required to release players for only one international championship per year.

The qualifying draw for the 2025 Afcon is scheduled for Johannesburg on July 4, with 48 countries to be divided into 12 groups.

CAF only finalised the dates once Fifa had made decisions on global events. However, there are still some dates that CAF needs to decide. There are no dates for the second-tier African Nations Championship (CHAN), originally scheduled for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda this year.

There will also be qualifying rounds for this competition, which is restricted to home-based players. CAF has not said a word about the second edition of the African Football League (AFL), initially called the African Super League.

This year’s plan was a 24-club mini-league and knockout competition featuring the highest-ranked clubs in the continent. It debuted last year with just eight sides involved in a three-round affair.

The announcements were made over the weekend when CAF held a virtual executive committee meeting at its headquarters in Cairo. Afterwards, CAF president Patrice Motsepe said his organisation was committed to protecting and advancing the interests of African players around the globe.

“I am confident that the Afcon Morocco 2025 will be extremely successful and will be the best Afcon in the history of this competition,” said Motsepe.

“I am also impressed by the enormous growth of women’s football in Africa and I am expecting the Wafcon Morocco 2024 to be immensely successful.

“The announcement of the dates for the Afcon Morocco 2025 took much longer than expected. There were complex and challenging discussions with various interested parties in light of the extensive international and domestic match calendars.

“CAF is committed to protecting and advancing the interests of African players at football clubs in Europe and worldwide.

“CAF is also committed to building mutually beneficial relationships with the ECA, Uefa, other football confederations and Fifa. We will continue to make significant progress in developing and ensuring that African football is globally competitive and among the best in the World.

“CAF is grateful to King Mohamed VI of Morocco, the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Football (FRMF), its president Fouzi Lekjaa, the government and the people of Morocco for hosting the CAF Afcon Morocco 2025 and the CAF Wafcon Morocco 2024.”