Former England forward John Fashanu has castigated the decision taken by Caf to postpone the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.
On Sunday, the African body confirmed the postponement of the 34th edition, which was initially scheduled for June 23 to July 23, 2023, will not be played as planned due to the weather conditions in the West African country and will move to January 2024.
“It is a lovely way for them to say none of the African players will be leaving the clubs for the biggest tournament in Africa next year,” the 59-year-old Fashanu, who is of Nigerian descent, said as quoted by Punch.
“But it is terrible and it is ridiculous to use weather as an excuse to postpone the Afcon because when has the weather ever stopped a footballer from playing football?
“Is it when it is snowing, raining, or when the sun is so hot that I wouldn’t play football? It is absolute rubbish and I call it rubbish. I wasn’t surprised when I saw the news but I was rather horrified and it looks like we are going backward.
“I just hope that we can get it right in Africa and I don’t think one of the biggest tournaments in Europe would have been postponed because of weather.”
While speaking in Morocco, where the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations is currently taking place, Caf president Dr. Patrice Motsepe explained the decision to change the tournament.
“The 2023 Afcon will now be played between January and February 2024,” Mostepe said. “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.”
The last edition of the Afcon was staged in Cameroon where Senegal defeated Egypt on penalties in the final to lift the trophy for the first time.