Seven Things To Look Out For At The AFCON

As we look forward to the AFCON in Cameroon in January 2022, there have been alot of controversy and doubts as to the possibility of the competition holding.

However, CAF continues to silently avoid the news while Africa’s football enthusiasts look forward to January.

Seven Things To Look Out For At The AFCON

1. Stadiums.
Seven Things To Look Out For At The AFCON

Cameroon were the initial hosts of the 2019 AFCON which Egypt eventually hosted and won by Algeria. However, Cameroon failed to get the stadiums ready for the event two years ago which meant that the hosting rights for Cameroon was shifted to the 2021 edition which will now be held in 2022 due to the Coronavirus issues.

Last week CAF made final visit to the venues to ascertain their readiness with some of them being brand new. This edition will be the second edition with 24 teams participating and they will be hosted in six venues at the Olembe Stadium and Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in the capital Yaoundé, the Japoma Stadium in Douala, the Limbe Stadium in Limbe, the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam and the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.
READ ALSO: AFCON 2021: African Teams Who Failed To Qualify

2. Officiating
Seven Things To Look Out For At The AFCON

For the first time in the history of the competition the African will
have the presence of Video Assistant Referee VAR throughout the
duration of the competition it may not be the first competition to
have the use of VAR is this the first where the where will be used
from the group stage.

Also attention will be on the referees appointed by CAF which included
two foreign referees from the CONCACAF region, one Nigerian referee in the
assistant role with a single Cameroonian and two debutant referees.
It is left to be seen how African referees has evolved with the introduction of
VAR.

3 The Defending Champions
Seven Things To Look Out For At The AFCON

Algeria beat the likes of Nigeria and Senegal to the last AFCON title
in Egypt and the team filled with mainly second string players and a few
Of the main team players have reached the finals of the FIFA Arab Cup currently ongoing in Qatar.

Whether they win the cup or not is another discussion but fans will want to see how the likes of Riyadh Mahrez and his team will perform trying to defend their title.

4. Nigeria.
Seven Things To Look Out For At The AFCON

The Super Eagles only managed a golden bronze the last time out but many of the Super Eagles fans believe they could have gone on to win the title.

Cameroon is another chance although the team has sacked the man who led them to third last time. The Super Eagles also have players hitting the target on a weekly basis in Europe from Victor Osihmen, Cyril Dessers, Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Paul Onoachu amongst others.

How the three-time Champions will combine these interesting set of players is also something to look out for.

5. The Stars.
Seven Things To Look Out For At The AFCON

Egypt’s Mohammed Salah, Senegal’s array of stars led by Sadio Mane, Algeria’s Riyadh Mahrez among others are the playera who will light the tournament up.

Recently, the Omicron Variant of Covid has put a doubt over the performance of the players as their clubs continue to look for ways to keep them in Europe.

However, with their appearance imminent, these are those who make AFCON and definitely those we want to see.

6. The UnderDogs and Debutants
Seven Things To Look Out For At The AFCON

Burkina Faso in 2013, before that it was Zambia winning the AFCON in 2012, these teams may not be underdogs totally but they were not expected to get as far as they did.

This time around there are underdogs and debutants, Comoros and The Gambia are the debutants this time and it is a must to lookout for stars who may break out while the big ones are shining.

7. CAF and The Hosts
Seven Things To Look Out For At The AFCON

A lot of focus is already on CAF with recent handling of its competitions and the pressure from external stakeholders who are hell bent on keeping African players away.

There is also Al Ahly’s issue with FIFA as the FIFA Club World Cup will be held during the competition. The Egyptian club has many of its players in the national team and while they have requested FIFA for a way out but the World governing body are not ready to bulge for the club’s request.

A way out seems to be the postponement of the competition to a summer date which European clubs will accept with an open arm.

Similarly, it is left to be seen how Cameroon will handle the tournament especially after several delays in preparation and the Covid-19 situation.

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