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The proposal of Gianni Infantino, the president of the International Football Federation, continues to provoke heated debates. Should the African Cup of Nations be held every four years instead of every two years? The pros and the antis are torn around this question. Who are they ?
THEY ARE FOR
It was the president of the International Football Federation (FIFA) who launched the idea of a CAN every four years, in front of the entire staff of African football. Since the election of Gianni Infantino, FIFA has continued to expand its competitions: Men's World Cup with 48 nations, plan for a Women's World Cup every two years, Club World Cup expanded to 24 teams … In an overloaded international calendar, FIFA must make the most of its tournaments.
Some European clubs
The majority of the best African players, who generally compete in the CAN, play in European clubs. For twenty years, the teams of the Old Continent have complained, sometimes vehemently, of the fact that the African Cup of Nations was held at the start of the year, in full season. With the CAN 2019, which took place in June / July, the tone had become less virulent. But the announcement of a four-week CAN 2021 in January-February threw Europe cold. Coach Jürgen Klopp, which Liverpool have Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Naby Keita and Joël Matip in its ranks, judged that this decision of CAF and Cameroon was a " disaster ".
The African branch of the global players' union has taken a strong stance in favor of an CAN every four years. In the past, many players have expressed concern about the risk of leaving your club in high season to compete in the African Cup of Nations. Footballers past or present, like the Tunisian Radhi Jaidi or the Senegalese Ricardo Faty, have in any case been favorable to this suggestion.
Money still money … ok but every 2 years the CAN loses interest, made in a hurry …
if we want to get to the European level, we have to organize it every 4 years. That it is better prepared by the countries, rarer more awaited … therefore more lucrative https://t.co/h4Si6FYOtl
Ricardo Faty (@rickyfaty) February 12, 2020
Former striker Didier Drogba, honorary president of FIFPro Africa, has never skipped an African Cup of Nations to preserve his club career. But the Ivorian superstar is no less supported Gianni Infantino's proposal. " This can be a good thing because it would give this trophy a very special flavor due to its rarity. ", He said in particular, passing through Paris.
THEY ARE AGAINST
The other African icon of the past 20 years has taken the opposite view from Drogba. In RFI's African Debate, the Cameroonian strongly criticized the statements of Gianni Infantino: " Is it in the interest of Africans to organize a CAN every four years? I think it’s more like the Europeans. They want to have available Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Another legend, the Senegalese El Hadji Diouf, also stressed that he preferred a final phase every two years.
The CAF Executive Committee, which meets this February 14 in Doha, on the sidelines of the African Super Cup, has not yet delivered its opinion on the subject. But, traditionally, CAF has always been a strong advocate of the CAN every two years. This is particularly true of its financial health (currently precarious), the African Cup providing most of the income of the African Football Confederation.
Most African football fans
A glance at the countless reactions on social networks and the various surveys carried out online leaves little room for doubts: African football fans tend to take part in the African Cup every two years. Admittedly, the fact that the proposal came from a European, who heads FIFA, exacerbates the positions. But in July 2017, before CAF overturned the organization of CAN, rfi.fr had carried out a large survey. And the result was already unambiguous: 74% of voters wanted to keep the current frequency of the African Cup of Nations.