CAF are set to make official changes to AFCON. Making it a 24-team competition and shifting it from January/February to June/July
At a two-day African Football Symposium which kicked off on Tuesday, July 18 CAF proposed a series of changes to AFCON- increasing the teams from 16 to 24, making it every four years and shifting the tournament from January, February to June/July.
Ahead of the CAF Extra-Ordinary Assembly in Rabat, Morocco on Friday, July 21, CAF are set to make official changes to AFCON. Making it a 24-team competition and shifting it from January/February to June/July.
It would, however, still be played every two years.
Reasons for the changes:
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick who is also a member of the Executive Committee of CAF and chairman of the AFCON and Media Committees of CAF has given some reasons why CAF are deciding to bring changes to AFCON.
According to Pinnick, CAF are bringing the changes for sporting, commercial and infrastructural reasons.
He explained that a 24-team AFCON will open more opportunities for talented African players to showcase their talents.
"George Weah from Liberia became the only African to have been named the World Player of the Year, same year he was voted the African Player of the Year and European Player of the Year," Pinnick is quoted to say on the NFF website
“He is from a nation (Liberia) many would consider a minnow in the African game. If we have a bigger AFCON, there will definitely be more talented players coming onto the stage, and we could just discover that the next ‘Weah’ would come from either Djibouti or Botswana.”
Pinnick also stated that a 24-team AFCON will allow more corporate organisations and stakeholders to be involved.
“CAF will be richer and the Member Associations will surely benefit. When UEFA staged the European Championship in 2012, when it was a 16 –team event, they made a profit of $1.5 billion. Last year, when they staged a 24 –team event for the first time, they made $2.1 billion.”
“Having a 24 –team AFCON will also compel the development of stadia facilities across the African continent, as CAF will certainly encourage co-hosting, and this will also ginger general infrastructural development in the continent.”