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Explainer:  AFCON 2023 Holding in 2024 – Here’s Why

AFCON 2023-stadium (News Central TV)

As fans await the kickoff for the 2023 TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, there are some exciting facts worth noting about the continent’s highly revered football tournament.

 The 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will take place between January 13 and February 11, 2024, in Cote d’Ivoire. This year’s AFCON is the third edition with 24 teams onboard, expanded from a 16-team tournament which it has been since 1996.

 Although it is the tradition to use the year in which a tournament is held in its official designation, however, the upcoming AFCON is tagged AFCON 2023 or Ivory Coast 2023 on social media and other places.

Why then is the AFCON holding in 2024 called AFCON 2023?  Let’s take a look:

On January 30, 2019, CAF confirmed Cote d’Ivoire as the host of 2023 AFCON. Cote d’Ivoire was originally scheduled to host the 2021 edition but was pushed back with Cameroon (scheduled to host the 2019 edition stripped of hosting rights) awarded the 2021 edition.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic made CAF reschedule the 2021 AFCON holding in Cameroon for the second time to 2022 while retaining the name 2021 Africa Cup of Nations moniker for sponsorship purposes.

Thereafter, CAF announced the 2023 edition would take place from June 23 to July 23, 2023 (a year after the 2021 edition which took place in 2022), but postponed it due to poor weather conditions.

Patrice Motsepe, in an announcement in July 2023, said, “The 2023 AFCON will now be played between January and February 2024,” Mostepe told the media during a press conference in Morocco.

“This is one of the issues we discussed during our congress meeting here in Morocco, and the official dates will be communicated later.

“It is after deliberations we came into the decision, we have partners and even though we make decisions, it is out of respect that we take the advice we are getting that we cannot take a risk (to host the tournament) and so that is why we have made the necessary announcement today (Sunday).

“It is not good for African football to play a tournament that can be washed out, it is not good for Africa and the continent at large, and so we have to postpone it.”

From June gloom to January jubilee, CAF retained the name AFCON 2023 for sponsorship purposes.

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