The Confederation of African Football (CAF) ruled that the African Cup of Nations tournament will move to the middle of the year, with a further eight teams added.
This followed a two-day symposium in Rabat, Morocco by the continental ruling body.
Until now, the competition has been played in January and February. This clashes with the European season, where a growing number of Africa-born players are based at club level.
One of several decisions made by CAF, a statement on their website read as follows:
“Increasing the Africa Cup of Nations to 24 teams as of the 2019 edition, and the tournament will now be held in the months of June and July. The competition will however remain a biennial event (every two years), odd years and exclusively held on African soil with African national teams.”
The 2019 edition will be hosted by Cameroon, the first time they’ve held the event since 1972. Cameroon won the 2017 tournament, beating Egypt in the final in Gabon.
Former Nigeria international Henry Nwosu’s comments on the changes will surely resonate amongst many overseas-based African stars.
“Moving the Nations Cup to the summer when the European season is over means that clubs will not have reasons to keep hold of their African players which was the case sometimes in the past. The increase from 16 teams to 24 will also mean more revenue for CAF. Its a win-win situation for every party,” he told CompleteSportsNigeria.
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