The 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations is set to take place next June, with the qualification stages well under way.
A number of teams have already been confirmed for next summer’s tournament, though title holders Cameroon had their hosting duties stripped after CAF stated that they did not believe they were satisfied with their preparations.
Following the news of Cameroon no longer hosting the competition, it was announced in mid-December that CAF are narrowing their decision to either South Africa or Egypt.
It is good news for fans of European teams as the Africa Cup of Nations will be held in the summer and not in the usual winter period for the first time in the tournament’s history, and so players participating in the tournament will not have to disrupt their league season to represent their country.
What is the Africa Cup of Nations?
The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is the biennial international men’s football championship of Africa organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Next summer’s tournament will be the 32nd edition of the competition and it will be the first Africa Cup of Nations where the competition format has been expanded from 16 to 24 teams.
Cameroon had their hosting duties stripped on November 30, 2018, with a new host country, either South Africa or Egypt, still to be decided.
When does the Africa Cup of Nations take place?
It will take place from June 15, 2019 to July 13, 2019, following the decision made by the CAF Executive Committee in June 2017 to move the Africa Cup of Nations from the January/February period to June/July for the first time.
This means that European-based players intending to participate in the Africa Cup of Nations with their country will not be forced to take leave of their club duties during January and February, as had been the case in previous seasons.
It is good news for fans of the Premier League as players such as Sadio Mane (Senegal), Mohamed Salah (Egypt) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) will not be withdrawn from club duty mid-season with Liverpool and Arsenal, respectively.
What is the format of the Africa Cup of Nations?
At the finals of the competition, 24 teams will be drawn into six groups of four teams each. The teams in each group will then play in a single round robin format, and after the group stage, the top two teams and the four best third teams will advance to the round of 16.
The winners will advance to the quarter-finals stage, and from then on, progress to the semi-finals. The semi-final losers will contest a third-place match, while semi-final winners will advance to the final.
|Group stage||June 7-15, 2019|
|Round of 16||June 18-19, 2019|
|Quarter-finals||June 22-23, 2019|
|Semi-finals||July 9-10, 2019|
|Third-place play-off||July 12, 2019|
|Final||July 13, 2019|
What teams have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations?
Qualification for the 2019 African Cup of Nations will take place from June 2017 to March 2019, with five teams having already been confirmed for next summer’s tournament.
|Team||Method of qualification||Date of qualification||Last appearance||Previous best performance|
|Madagascar||Group A top two||October 16, 2018||N/A||Debut|
|Tunisia||Group J top two||October 16, 2018||2017||Winners (2004)|
|Egypt||Group J top two||October 16, 2018||2017||Winners (1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010)|
|Senegal||Group A top two||October 16, 2018||2017||Runners up (2002)|
|Morocco||Group B top two||November 17, 2018||2017||Winners (1976)|
|Nigeria||Group E top two||November 17, 2018||2013||Winners (1980, 1994, 2013)|
|Uganda||Group L winners||November 17, 2018||2017||Runners up (1978)|
|Mali||Group C top two||November 17, 2018||2017||Runners up (1972)|
|Guinea||Group H winners||November 18, 2018||2015||Runners up (1976)|
|Algeria||Group D winners||November 18, 2018||2017||Winners (1990)|
|Mauritania||Group I top two||November 18, 2018||N/A||Debut|
|Ivory Coast||Group H runners up||November 18, 2018||N/A||Winners (1992, 2015)|
|Kenya||Group F top two||November 18, 2018||2004||Group stage (1972, 1988, 1990, 1992, 2004)|
|Ghana||Group F top two||November 18, 2018||2017||Winners (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982)|
Morocco withdrew from being hosts for the 2015 edition which led CAF to ban them from entering the 2017 and 2019 competitions. The ban was later overturned by the Court of Administration for Sport, however, meaning that Morocco have since been allowed to enter the 2019 tournament.
Chad withdrew during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification and are now banned from entering the 2019 edition.