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Africa Cup of Nations 2021: Dates, format, TV channel, groups, Premier League player list

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is now rapidly approaching, with a quantity of high-profile gamers – from the Premier League and throughout the globe – getting set for an attractive event in Cameroon.  

The historically biennial competitors final occurred in the summertime of 2019, the place Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez captained his Algeria facet to an historic victory.  

Disruptions have compelled the event to be pushed again twice, first to keep away from the scorching summer time situations in Cameroon, and second because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.   

Now going down throughout January and February 2022, AFCON can be performed in the identical calendar yr because the World Cup for the primary time since 2010, having been moved to odd-numbered years in 2013 to keep away from such clashes.  

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Egypt, captained by arguably the world’s type player Mohamed Salah, are the pre-tournament favourites, although the likes of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal and, of course, Algeria are coming in with excessive expectations.  

With the event now below a month away, Sportsmail takes you thru the whole lot you might want to know. 

The Africa Cup of Nations is now under a month away, getting started on January 9

The Africa Cup of Nations is now below a month away, getting began on January 9

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It was Algeria who won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-0 victory over Senegal

It was Algeria who received the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-0 victory over Senegal 

When is the Africa Cup of Nations?

The Africa Cup of Nations is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, January 9 because the host nation Cameroon get the ball rolling in opposition to Burkina Faso.  

The group phases will come to an finish on January 20, with the primary stage of the knockouts – the spherical of 16 – getting began three days in a while January 23.     

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The quarter-finals can be performed over two days on January 29 and 30, earlier than the semi-finals happen on February 2 and three. 

The ultimate will then happen on Sunday, February 6 because the competitors involves an finish.  

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations was moved to the summer time to keep away from disruptions to the home leagues, which will not be the identical this time spherical, with the likes of Liverpool set to be impacted vastly by the event. 

Is AFCON positively going forward? 

The reply to that, as issues stand, is a tentative sure. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, nonetheless, issues can change within the blink of a watch.  

The emergence of the omicron variant of Covid-19 has positioned contemporary doubt as as to whether the event ought to go forward, with international locations all over the world introducing new journey restrictions and bans. 

Nigeria, which neighbours the event’s host nation Cameroon, has been added to the United Kingdom’s ‘crimson list’, which will definitely trigger concern.  

The European Club Association (ECA) just lately raised issues over player welfare, desirous to keep away from a repeat of the issues skilled within the September worldwide break, the place Premier League golf equipment blocked gamers from touring to crimson list international locations as they’d have needed to quarantine on return. 

The tournament has been placed into doubt following the emergence of the omicron variant

The event has been positioned into doubt following the emergence of the omicron variant

The World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina was then known as off mid-game, with Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero beaching native quarantine guidelines. 

It was then claimed by RMC Sport in France on Wednesday that the Central Africa Federation (CAF) might have been compelled to scrap the showpiece. 

Yet, organisers have remained adamant the event will nonetheless happen, with simply weeks left till the primary sport – that means {that a} host of Premier League gamers, together with Liverpool’s Salah and Sadio Mane, are nonetheless set to go away their golf equipment mid-season. 

Confusion stays over the scenario, nonetheless, with stress constructing as an increasing number of golf equipment proceed to be impacted closely by covid outbreaks. 

Meanwhile, the event’s organising committee met with CAF on the finish of October to report their findings in preparation for the event, the place it was revealed ‘pressing consideration’ was wanted to permit the competitors to run safely. 

The cancellation of AFCON would have been good news for Liverpool, who have African stars Sadio Mane (left) and Mohamed Salah (right) in their squad

The cancellation of AFCON would have been excellent news for Liverpool, who’ve African stars Sadio Mane (left) and Mohamed Salah (proper) of their squad

Though one of the areas requiring consideration was in reality ‘sanitary issues’ – regarding the pandemic and the welcoming of followers into stadia – the identical committee signed off the Organising Agreement between AFCON and Cameron – in in any other case, giving their blessing for the event to go forward.  

CAF General Secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba is now in Cameroon and has held a number of conferences with the likes of the Minister of Sport, Professor Narcise Mouelle Kombi, and the Minister of Public Health, Manaouda Malachie.

‘The conferences had been essential in getting a stage of understanding on the state of readiness in Cameroon,’ Mosengo-Omba mentioned.

‘There is loads of work that’s being executed. We should proceed with the identical momentum. We can’t relaxation. We should work across the clock.

‘I’m not resting, the LOC can’t relaxation. CAF can’t relaxation. Everyone should be part of the efforts. We need to see a fantastic TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations right here in Cameroon in January subsequent yr.

‘Together with the Minister of Sport, we mentioned all of the pending points and the way in which ahead.’ 

How will the event work? 

The event will consist of 24 groups, which have been divided into six teams of 4. 

Both the winner and the runner-up of every group will progress to the spherical of 16, as will the four-best third-placed groups.  

Should any nations end on the identical factors come the tip of the group stage, their place can be decided first by the quantity of factors obtained within the matches between the groups in query, earlier than purpose distinction and away targets scored in these particular video games. 

The four-best third-placed groups can be decided by the overall quantity of factors obtained throughout their group, earlier than purpose distinction and targets scored come into play.  

Where is the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations being held? 

As acknowledged, the 2021 Africn Cup of Nations can be held in Cameroon. 

Cameroon had been because of maintain the 2019 version of the event, earlier than CAF stripped them of their internet hosting duties because of delays of their preparation for the competitors.   

The event was as an alternative awarded to Egypt, with Cameroon later accepting to host the next competitors.    

The upcoming matches will now be held in six stadiums situated in 5 distinction cities, being Yaounde, Douala, Garouda, Limbe and Bafoussam.    

What are the teams? 

Group A

Birkina Fasom, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Ethiopia  

Group B

Guinea, Malawi, Senegal, Zimbabwe 

Group C

Comoros, Gabon, Ghana, Morocco  

Group D

Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Sudan  

Group E

Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone

Group F

Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia  

How lengthy will Premier League gamers be away?   

This stays one other critical bone of competition, with golf equipment nonetheless awaiting official affirmation as to when their gamers will depart. 

FIFA guidelines state that gamers have to be launched no later than the Monday morning the week previous the event’s begin, which CAF have mentioned they’re following. 

That would imply Premier League golf equipment would want to launch their gamers by December 27, following the set of Boxing Day fixtures. 

There is a debate that, with the bulk of nations getting their tournaments underway from January 10-12, the next week, that gamers ought to be launched on January 3.  

Salah will be at AFCON representing Egypt Mane will also be in Cameroon for Senegal

Mohamed Salah can be at AFCON representing Egypt whereas Sadio Mane may also be in Cameroon for Senegal 

With the abundance of video games round Christmas and New Year, that may be a serious enhance for a quantity of Premier League groups, together with Liverpool and Chelsea, who play on January 2. 

A FIFA spokesperson informed The Athletic in October that the discharge day – December 27 – is relevant for all groups, regardless of their begin date, nonetheless. 

Earlier in December, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insisted he stays hopeful the departure of his gamers will be delayed till after the Chelsea sport. It is, because the German admitted, out of his fingers, nonetheless.   

As for a way lengthy the gamers can be away, that is determined by how far their group will get into the event. 

African players such as Arsenal's Thomas Partey (left) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) need to be released by their clubs by January 3

African gamers similar to Arsenal’s Thomas Partey (left) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (proper) should be launched by their golf equipment by January 3

The earliest potential launch date is January 20, when the teams come to an finish. The newest is, of course, the tip of the event on February 6. 

The event, as acknowledged, will affect a quantity of golf equipment within the Premier League. Liverpool have already been mentioned, however Arsenal are one other who might lose a number of gamers, being Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Meanwhile, Chelsea and Manchester City might lose Edouard Mendy and Riyad Mahrez respectively, whereas Watford might lose as many as 5 gamers – together with the in-form Ismaila Sarr.

Leicester are set to lose 4 gamers, together with Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfried N’Didi, whereas Crystal Palace can be with out Wilfred Zaha.

Manchester United are solely set to lose Ivorian duo Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo for the event, whereas Tottenham shouldn’t have any African gamers who might be known as up for the competitors.

Premier League gamers anticipated to play at AFCON 

Arsenal

  • Thomas Partey (Ghana)
  • Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)
  • Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
  • Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)

Aston Villa

  • Mahmoud Trezeguet (Egypt)
  • Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso)
  • Marvelous Nakamba (Zimbabwe)

Brentford

  • Julian Jeanvier (Guinea)
  • Frank Onyeka (Nigeria)
  • Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Ghana)

Brighton

Burnley

  • Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast)

Chelsea

  • Edouard Mendy (Senegal)
  • Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)

Crystal Palace

  • Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)
  • Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana)
  • Jordan Ayew (Ghana)
  • Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)

Everton

  • Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)
  • Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Ivory Coast) 

Leeds

Leicester

  • Daniel Amartey (Ghana)
  • Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria) 
  • Nampalys Mendy (Senegal)
  • Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria) 

Liverpool

  • Mo Salah (Egypt)
  • Naby Keita (Guinea)
  • Sadio Mane (Senegal)

Manchester City

Manchester United

  • Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast) 
  • Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast) 

Newcastle 

Norwich 

Southampton

  • Moussa Djenepo (Mali)
  • Mohammed Salisu (Ghana)

Tottenham

Watford

  • Adam Masina (Morocco)
  • Emmanuel Dennis (Nigeria) 
  • Ismaila Sarr (Senegal) 
  • Peter Etebo (Nigeria)
  • William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria)   

West Ham

Wolves

  • Romain Saiss (Morocco)
  • Willy Boly (Ivory Coast)

How to look at AFCON

Sky Sports introduced earlier this week that they’ll broadcast all 52 Africa Cup of Nations video games dwell. 

BBC may also be displaying 10 video games dwell, together with two quarter-finals, each semi-finals and the ultimate itself. 

Sportsmail can be protecting an abundance of the video games dwell, so you can too observe together with us.  

Who received AFCON final trip? 

As acknowledged, it was Algeria who received the Africa Cup of Nations final trip, as they beat Senegal in a tense ultimate.

The sport was determined by a freak second-minute purpose by Baghdad Bounedjah, with the scoreline then ending 1-0.  

Algeria, who dedicated 32 fouls in line with official match statistics, sat again after that and needed to scrap for his or her win in a match that was definitely not a traditional however was tense and gripping all through.

With victory, Algeria received the event for the second time, having additionally executed so 29 years prior. 

Meanwhile, it was Nigeria who claimed third place as they beat Tunisia 1-0 within the play-off, with Odion Ighalo scoring the one purpose of the sport.   

Ighalo completed because the event’s prime scorer with 5 targets, with three-time winners Nigeria ending in third for a staggering eighth time.   

Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez was handed the trophy by CAF president Ahmad Ahmad

Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez was handed the trophy by CAF president Ahmad Ahmad

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