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FILE: The Africa Cup of Nations trophy. /CFP

CAF announces AFCON, WAFCON dates after lengthy delay

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Friday that the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will be played from December 21, 2025 to January 18, 2026, while the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) will be staged between July 5 and July 26, 2025.

Both tournaments will be hosted by Morocco.

The news comes after several months of uncertainty. CAF attributed the delay in announcing the tournament dates to “complex and at times challenging discussions with various interested parties, in the light of the extensive International and Domestic Match Calendars.”

The December 2025-January 2026 schedule was advised by FIFA’s scheduling of the FIFA Club World Cup in June-July 2025, the same period the AFCON 2025 was initially expected to be scheduled.

Many AFCON tournaments in the recent past have been staged between January and February, a timing that has regularly caused tensions between the continent’s national teams and European clubs, who are reluctant to release their best players in the middle of their seasons.

CAF sought to address this problem by shifting the tournament dates to June – July from 2019. The last two editions of the prestigious continental showpiece – in 2022 and 2024 – were, however, held in the January – February window due to the COVID-19 pandemic and weather concerns, respectively.

“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,” CAF President Patrice Motsepe said.

The women’s tournament, whose qualification was completed in December 2023, was initially scheduled to be held this year, but was postponed for unspecified reasons.

Morocco will stage the event for the second successive time after hosting the 2022 edition, which was hailed as one of the best organized women’s football events on the continent.

Motsepe said he expects another good showing in 2025.

“I am also impressed by the enormous growth of Women’s Football in Africa and I am expecting the CAF TotalEnergies WAFCON Morocco 2024 to be immensely successful,” he said.

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