CAF announces dates for WAFCON and AFCON tournaments

CAF announces dates for WAFCON and AFCON tournaments

Banyana Banyana will have to wait another year to defend their CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) title after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced that the tournament has been moved from the original date of July/August 2024 and is now scheduled to be played between 5-26 July 2025.

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will also not be held during its normal period and has been postponed to kickoff later in the year: Sunday, 21 December 2025 with the final set for Sunday, 18 January 2026.

Both tournaments will be held in Morocco.

The decision was taken at a CAF Executive Committee held virtually on Friday (21 June 2024).

“The announcement of the dates of the AFCON Morocco 2025 took much longer than expected, as there were complex and at times challenging discussions with various interested parties, in the light of the extensive International and Domestic Match Calendars,” said CAF President Patrice Motsepe in a statement.

“CAF is committed to protecting and advancing the interests of African players playing in football clubs in Europe and worldwide. CAF is also committed to building mutually beneficial relationships with the ECA, UEFA, other Football Confederations and FIFA. We will continue to make significant progress in developing and ensuring that African Football is globally competitive and amongst the best in the World.”

Banyana Banyana lifted the WAFCON trophy in July 2022 and were expected to defend it in July/August this year. Another stumbling block with the dates is the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games which will be held from next month, and will include two giants of African women’s football, Zambia and Nigeria.

Adding to the jam-packed program, are the qualifiers of the CAF Women’s Champions League at club level, as well as the actual tournament.

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This is the first time the WAFCON will be played outside its original scheduled year – the only other time it was not played at all was during Covid-19 in 2020.

Twelve teams have already qualified for the tournament – Zambia, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Algeria, Tunisia, Mali, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria and will be joined by defending champions South Africa as well as hosts Morocco.

In the last tournament, the Desiree Ellis-coached Banyana Banyana defeated hosts Morocco 2-1 in the final in 2022.

In the men’s section, Bafana Bafana returned with a bronze medal from the continental competition held in Cote d’Ivoire early this year. They will go into the hat for the draw of the qualifiers which will be held on Thursday, 4 July 2024 in Johannesburg.