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Caf changes start date for 2023 Afcon

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) set for Ivory Coast has been moved to January 2024 in a bid to avoid the rainy season, Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced Sunday.

Initially, the month-long tournament was scheduled for June 23 to July 23 in the West African country.

The tournament is graced by 24 teams with the last edition held in Cameroon in February where Senegal beat Egypt in the final on post-match penalties to clinch the prestigious trophy.

Patrice Motsepe, head of the African football confederation (Caf), said the body didn’t want to take the risk of staging the tournament “under a deluge”.

Speaking at a Caf executive committee meeting in Morocco, playing host to the women’s Cup of Nations, Motsepe said: “We cannot take that risk.

“January is not the ideal time because European clubs are not keen to release some of their best players.

“As it is now we really have no choice, it’s the only time we have in terms of developing and growing African football.”

Kenya was pooled alongside Namibia, Burundi and Cameroon in the qualification phase of this competition but was later barred from participating following a ban on the country from competing in continental competitions by Fifa.

Sunday’s meeting also saw the continental body re-introduce the two-legged format for the finals of the Champions League and the Confederation Cup.

Last season, the finals of the two competitions were played in one-off matches at different venues.

RS Berkane from Morocco won the Caf Confederation Cup after beating Orlando Pirates of South Africa on post-match penalties.

Wydad AC of Morocco clinched the Caf Champions League trophy after seeing off Al Ahly 2-0.

Other resolutions from Caf saw Mozambique and Egypt selected to host the Futsal Afcon and Beach football Afcon respectively.

For the first time, Caf will have a Super League tournament this season, while the Women’s Champions League will be held in October this year in Morocco.

The Super Cup will be held in August 2023 in Tanzania and will comprise of 24 teams.

The teams will be picked from the Fifa grading of clubs with Sh11.8 billion prize money for the winners at stake.

The committee also received a report on Guinea’s preparedness to host the 2025 Afcon and will make a decision after going through the report.