Motsepe shifts Afcon finals goalposts again

Patrice Motsepe, head of the African football confederation (CAF) said the body didn't want to take the risk of staging the tournament "under a deluge". FILE PHOTO/ AFP

What you need to know:

  • Caf president Patrice Motsepe announced at the weekend that the next Africa Cup of Nations, to be played in Ivory Coast, will instead take place in 2024, and not 2023

The Nations Cup, Africa’s biggest football showpiece, will be held outside of the June/July window for the second successive edition since the event was moved from January/February.
Caf president Patrice Motsepe announced at the weekend that the next Africa Cup of Nations, to be played in Ivory Coast, will instead take place in 2024, and not 2023.

The tournament was to be hosted in June-July 2023, which is the height of the rainy season in Ivory Coast. It will now be played in January-February the following year.

“We cannot take the risk,” said the South African, Motsepe, in the Moroccan capital Rabat.
This despite Caf and the hosts themselves knowing all along that Ivory Coast experiences heavy rains in June and July.
With the World Cup in Qatar taking place in November and December this year, the decision has been taken to postpone the finals rather than bring them forward.

In 2017, Caf moved Afcon finals from the traditional January-February slot to June-July to avoid repeated disputes with European clubs over player release in the middle of the season.
“January is not the ideal time because of the European clubs, but it is the only choice we have,” said Motsepe.

Caf secretary general Veron Mosengo-Omba, however, said there were no plans to permanently move the finals back to January-February given the contrasting weather patterns across the continent at different times of the year.
Uganda Cranes are fighting for their lives at the bottom of their group in the qualifiers for the tournament and must pick apart Tanzania in September in back-to-back qualifiers to get their campaign back on its boots.

The better news
Far away in New York, however; good news continued to filter in with former Uganda captain Ibrahim Sekagya being elevated at New York Red Bulls II.
“Same journey,” tweeted Sekagya, “Different new challenges ahead!”
Sekagya was reacting to news of his new role – albeit an interim one.
The 41-year-old replaced sacked Gary Lewis at the second division side for the remainder of the 2022 USL season.

Sekagya was in his eighth season as an assistant coach with Red Bulls II and has filled in as head coach for three matches during that span.
Sekagya’s first match in his new role is away to Louisville City FC on Saturday.
He takes over a side that are last in the Eastern Conference after 17 matches.

The more things change...

In 2017, Caf moved Afcon finals from the traditional January-February slot to June-July to avoid repeated disputes with European clubs, who were forced to release players in the middle of the season.

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