CAF Finally CHANGES Dates for AFCON 2025 and WAFCON 2024 Tournaments.

  • The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed  new dates for next editions of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2025) and Women Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON 2024) due to schedule clash with FIFA competitions.
  • Dates for the two tournaments have been keenly anticipated as CAF previously acknowledged struggling with a crowded footballing calendar next year.

In an exciting development for African football fans across the continent, CAF has officially announced that the 2025 AFCON will now be played on a new dates.

The prestigious tournament originally scheduled for mid-year (June and July) 2025, the AFCON was moved further to winter months, in order to avoid a clash with the inaugural FIFA's new Club World Cup set to feature 32 teams in the United States from June 15 to July 13 next year.

The 2025 AFCON postponed by six months, will now take place from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026.

It's set to be hosted by Morocco who look to prove their capability ahead of co-hosting the 2030 World Cup with Portugal and Spain.

The AFCON which originally used to be held in the middle of the European league season (January to February) causes a dilemma for African players who plies their trade for European clubs, as they have to decide between competing for either their club or country.

To avoid this, CAF previously decided the finals would be moved to mid-year (June/July), every odd year, from 2019 onwards. But since the mid-year tournament in Egypt in 2019, African football’s governing body have gone back on their usual dates and hosted the last two finals in Cameroon and the Ivory Coast at the start of the year to avoid the raining seasons in Central and West Africa.

CAF held a virtual executive committee at their headquarters in Cairo on Friday evening after which the President Dr. Patrice Motsepe made the announcement.

“The announcement of the dates of the AFCON in Morocco 2025 took much longer than expected, as there were complex and at times challenging discussions with various interested parties, in the light of the extensive international and domestic match calendars,” said Motsepe.

“CAF is committed to protecting and advancing the interests of African players, [who are] playing in football clubs in Europe and worldwide. CAF is also committed to building mutually beneficial relationships with the other football confederations and FIFA,” he added.

Finding suitable dates for the AFCON, a 24-nation tournament won by hosts the Ivory Coast last February, has become increasingly difficult.

Taking into cognisance the reasons for the delay in dates rescheduling is that English media reports suggested that clubs might not release African stars as they are compelled to do so for only one international championship per year and the next World Cup is in 2026.

Unlike the four-yearly European Championship, Copa America and Asian Cup, the AFCON is held every two years because it delivers most of the CAF revenue.

In a recent TV interview, Motsepe said CAF made an $80 million (€75 million) profit from the last AFCON, hosted by the Ivory Coast in January and February this year. 

An added challenge for CAF officials for moving the 2025 AFCON to a December kick-off rather than early January, was the desire to avoid a clash of dates with the expanded UEFA Champions League in Europe.

The group stage of the elite European club competition ends on December 11, 2025 and the knock-out stage begins on January 21 2026 due to its new expansion.

However, the new dates are sure to upset many Premier League clubs as the Christmas-New Year period is frenetic with teams playing many matches in a short period.

The qualifiers’ draw for the 2025 AFCON tournament will be held on July 4, 2025, in Johannesburg, South Africa, beginning at 13:30 GMT (48 hopefuls to be divided into 12 groups).

Morocco will take part to gain competitive match practice, but are guaranteed a place at the 24-team finals as hosts.

The qualifying games will be played in the next three international windows in September, October and November this year in quickfire campaign after which the 24 finalists will wait more than one year before the finals kick off. 

CAF has also moved this year’s WAFCON finals out by 12 months to July 5-26 next year which is also being hosted by Morocco.

President Motsepe also expressed his confidence in the success of both tournaments and highlighted the significant growth of women's football in Africa.

"I am confident that the CAF AFCON Morocco 2025 will be extremely successful and the best AFCON in the history of this competition." he said.

CAF also thanked Morocco's leadership and football federation for their understanding and support towards these new developments.

According to further reports, New dates will also have to be found for the African Nations Championship (CHAN), originally scheduled for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda this year.

Not even the qualifying draw has been made for a competition restricted to home-based footballers and won by Senegal in Algeria last year, and CAF have not explained the delay.

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