AFCON 2023: African Players in Club Versus Country Dilemma

By: Gyang Dakwo

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ivory Coast will run from Jan. 13-Feb. 11 next year, the Confederation of African Football confirmed on Thursday, providing another club versus-country clash for top African players in Europe’s elite leagues.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez from Manchester City, and Victor Osimhen of Napoli are just some of the key players that could miss as much as five weeks of next season depending on how far they get at the finals

The finals in Ivory Coast were postponed from June-July this year due to concerns over the weather at that time, and will instead be played in the middle of the 2023-24 European season.

CAF has resolved to try and play the finals in the June-July period in the future, but cannot do so when it is hosted in west Africa due to heavy rains that lash that part of the continent over those months.

The month-long tournament returns to the Ivory Coast for the first time since 1984, with six nations, outside of the hosts, having qualified so far for the 24-team competition. They are Algeria, Morocco, South Africa, defending champions Senegal, Tunisia, and Burkina Faso.

There are two more rounds of qualifiers to be played in June and September, with the draw for the finals to take place shortly after the last set of games on a date that has yet to be determined.