Guedioura calls for AFCON postponement

Guedioura calls for AFCON postponement
Algeria player Adlene Guedioura (L) in action against Kenya player Joseph Okumu (C) during the match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Apr 29, 2020. 12:00

Algeria midfielder Adlene Guedioura has called for the postponement or even cancellation of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Football, and major sport in general, continues to be on hold virtually throughout the world after the outbreak of Covid-19. This includes the 2021 AFCON, which saw two rounds of qualifiers scheduled for March scrapped.

The competition is slated to be held in Cameroon in January-February 2021, but it is looking increasingly unlikely that the qualification programme for the tournament will be completed in time.

“I know that the Africa Cup of Nations is important and it’s good for the countries to organise it but this one in 2021 I think it should be cancelled or postponed,” Guedioura told BBC World Service.

“First they said it was in summer, then in winter, now we have the coronavirus which makes it more difficult to complete the qualification games.

“I think they should decide maybe to have it later. That would help many of the nations and many of the players also who represent Africa in the world.”

Guedioura believes pushing the AFCON back to June-July, as was originally planned, offers a potential solution, though the weather conditions in Cameroon at that time of year may pose a logistical problem.

“It’s much better to do it in the European summer anyway. I think the best Cup of Nations was the last one in the summer and it’s not just because we won it,” he explained.

“With a Cup of Nations in January it’s in the middle of the season, you come back straight away to play for your club and you can get injured or you can lose your place in the team.

“If you’re not [Mohamed] Salah or [Riyad] Mahrez or [Sadio] Mane, if you’re a player who always has to fight for his place, the manager can decide to pick other players which are not good.

“I remember most of the Algeria players told our manager Djamel Belmadi we’d prefer it in the summer.”

The Fennec Foxes midfielder added: “This coronavirus you have to think about the safety of people and football comes very last, unfortunately. To organise the qualifying games is going to be very difficult.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the tournament is postponed or cancelled to be honest. It’s something they need to discuss. To organise this Cup of Nations will be very tough.”

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