Africa Cup of Nations delayed until 2022 due to coronavirus pandemic – meaning Premier League clubs will not l

Africa Cup of Nations delayed until 2022 due to coronavirus pandemic – meaning Premier League clubs will not l

The Africa Cup of Nations has been pushed back to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The news will be welcomed by Premier League clubs as many would have faced losing star players if it went ahead as originally planned in January 2021.

Mane and Salah have played huge roles in Liverpool’s title charge this season

Getty

Mane and Salah have played huge roles in Liverpool’s title charge this season

A date for the tournament, which is due to be held in Cameroon, and the final matches of the qualifiers are yet to be decided.

The decision comes after Euro 2020 and the Copa America were both put back until 2021 earlier this year.

Algeria are the reigning champions after beating Senegal 1-0 in Cairo in 2019.

Liverpool could have lost three key players in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, who represent Egypt, Senegal and Guinea respectively.

Riyad Mahrez won the Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria in 2019

Getty Images – Getty

Riyad Mahrez won the Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria in 2019

The Reds coped badly when Mane was on AFCON duty in 2017 – Jurgen Klopp’s side won just one of seven games without him.

Manchester City would have lost Riyad Mahrez, who plays for reigning AFCON champions Algeria.

Forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may not have been available for Arsenal, although his native Gabon did not qualify for the last AFCON in 2019.

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The Gunners may have also been without record signing Nicolas Pepe, who plays for AFCON regulars Ivory Coast.

Tottenham have a member of the Ivory Coast squad among their ranks too in full-back Serge Aurier. As do Manchester United in centre-back Eric Bailly.

Leicester, who have been a surprise package this season, have a strong African contingent – Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho play for Nigeria, while Daniel Amartey represents Ghana.

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Qualification for the tournament, now being held in 2022, is still to be completed.

If it is held in Cameroon then it is likely to take place in January due to the summer climates in the country being too much for players to deal with.


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