The Nigerian national team is targeting a fourth continental crown in Ivory Coast next year
The Super Eagles may have their dreams of claiming a fourth winners medal at the Africa Cup of Nations delayed.
A Le Monde report claims the Confederation of African Football, CAF, is considering postponing the next edition of the continent’s flagship football championship in the Ivory Coast.
The 17 edition of the continental championship, AFCON 2023, was initially scheduled for June 23 to July 23, 2023, in Ivory Coast.
But exactly a year before kickoff, major cities in Ivory Coast are experiencing heavy rains with floods. And CAF is beginning to admit that scheduling the competition in the middle of the rainy season may not necessarily be a bright idea.
“We are considering it; it is one of the possibilities,” admits CAF Secretary General Veron Mosengo-Omba, interviewed by Le Monde.
“We asked Ivorian meteorologists to report to us on rainfall history in Côte d’Ivoire in June and July, but also to share their projections with us.”
Rescheduling the championship may be tricky, though.
With the 2022 World Cup billed for November 21 to December 18, 2022, it is impossible to push back the AFCON to January-February 2023.
Obviously, players will not be able to participate in two major tournaments in the space of a few weeks.
The most likely alternative appears to be to postpone the AFCON to January-February 2024.
That is similar to the previous edition, AFCON 2021, in Cameroon, which kicked off earlier this year after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted initial plans.
The subject is expected to be on the menu of the 44th Ordinary General Assembly of CAF scheduled for August 10 in Arusha, Tanzania.
A Sadio Mane-inspired Senegal lifted the trophy in Cameroon – a first in history – after beating Egypt on penalties in the final.
Three-time AFCON champions, Nigeria, have not tasted triumph in the competition since their last romp to glory at South Africa 2013.
But newly appointed chief coach Jose Peseiro has expressed his desire to guide the Super Eagles to a fourth continental crown next year.
Nigeria are on track to qualify for the tournament after claiming victories over Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe in their first two games of the campaign.