The Confederation of African Football (CAF) are saying the decision to change the timing of the African Cup of Nations from even years to odd years has resulted in improved performances by the African countries at the World Cup.
Two of the continent’s five representatives at the tournament, Algeria and Nigeria, made it through to the second round, with Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana, knocked out at the group stage.
Nigeria finished as runner’s up to group winners Argentina, with Algeria holding off Russia to progress behind Belgium.
It was the first time two African countries had progressed from the group stage at the World Cup finals.
CAF secretary general, Hicham El Amrani, attributed this to the fact that this was the first time African teams did not have to play in the AFCON, five months before the World Cup.
CAF in 2010 announced its decision to switch the timing of the tournament from even to odd years to address the issue of players potentially having to play in two major tournaments in the space of 5 months.
As such, the 2012 edition of the AFCON staged in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, and won by Zambia, was preceded immediately by another tournament in South Africa in 2013, which was won by Nigeria.
Nigeria and Algeria have since been knocked out of the tournament, but Hicham El Amrani believes that CAF’s decision played a major part in their progression.
He said,”The fact that two teams made it through is a combination of various factors, one of which is CAF’s decision to change the Nations Cup from even to odd years.”
“This makes it impossible for African players to have two major events to play in the space of six months.”
Hicham El Amrani added that both federations had been contacted by CAF president, Issa Hayatou, to congratulate them on their performance in Brazil.
Jul 02, 2014 0