Friday Oct 25, 2019. 10:00
FIFA have confirmed that Africa will have three places at the revamped 2021 FIFA Club World Cup in China, but the competition dates could cause a problem for teams preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations that year.
FIFA will expand the club competition from seven to 24 sides as it replaces the now defunct Confederations Cup on the calendar and will go from a yearly event to once that is staged every four years.
Europe will get eight places at the finals, South America six, Africa, Asia, and North and Central America three, and Oceania one.
The three African sides will come from the finalists in the 2020/21 CAF Champions League, as well as a playoff between the two losing semi-finalists.
The competition will run from June 17-July 4, with the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon allocated a window somewhere between July 5-31.
Given that there are likely to be a number of top African names involved in the Club World Cup, this will give their national sides a headache in that they will have virtually zero preparation time if their teams make the latter stages.
It will also provide for a gruelling schedule with essentially two ‘off-season’ competitions coming after a long campaign.
But it is a headache CAF will have to overcome every four years having made the decision to move their flagship championship from January/February to the middle of the year.