Confederation of African Football president, Patrice Motsepe, has announced the postponement of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ivory Coast to 2024.
Motsepe confirmed the postponement in Rabat, Morocco’s capital on Sunday.
The tournament was to be hosted in June-July 2023, which is the height of the rainy season in Ivory Coast, the host country.
It is the second consecutive time that the AFCON is being postponed, after the last edition of the tournament in Cameroon, where Senegal emerged the winners after defeating Egypt on penalties in the final.
The last edition, was originally scheduled for April 4 to 25, 2020 before CAF announced on March 17, 2020 that the tournament had been postponed to a later date due to the COVID -19 pandemic. After suffering several changes in date, the 33rd edition of the AFCON eventually took place in 2022.
The 34th edition of the biggest African football showpiece, which had been initially scheduled for June 23 to July 23, 2023, in Ivory Coast has also suffered the same fate as the CAF president said it would not go according to plan due to the weather conditions in the West African country.
“The 2023 AFCON will now be played between January and February 2024,” Mostepe told the media during a press conference in Morocco.
“This is one of the issues we discussed during our congress meeting here in Morocco and the official dates will be communicated later.
“It is after deliberations we came into the decision, we have partners and even though we make decisions, it is out of respect that we take the advice we are getting that we cannot take a risk (to host the tournament) and so that is why we have made the necessary announcement today (Sunday).
“It is not good for African football to play a tournament that can be washed out, it is not good for Africa and the continent at large and so we have to postpone it.”
Motsepe, however, lauded Ivory Coast for the preparations they have already put in place to stage the tournament.
“I am happy and impressed with the infrastructure put in place by Ivory Coast in readiness for the tournament and I am sure they will host a very good tournament,” Motsepe continued.