Coronavirus arena: CAF president's message; football, health, solidarity

This piece will focus on the impact on sports given a raft of incidents that have been undertaken.

The coronavirus epidemic continues to disrupt life across the world. The disruption is much lesser in African countries that have recorded cases as compared to for example Italy where the entire country is almost in a lockdown.



The impact on gatherings is an area that most African governments have moved to control. From the playing of football matches behind closed doors, the banning of scheduled sports events and even in the case of Kenya banning athletes from leaving the country.



Our main coronavirus hub is seized with major developments around the epidemic. This piece will focus on the impact on sports given a raft of incidents that have been undertaken.



CAF president’s COVID-19 statement



President of the continent’s football body, Ahmad Ahmad on Friday shared his coronavirus message which ranged from administrative measures by the body, decision on competitions and Africa’s role in combating the pandemic.




  • All competitions suspended i.e. AFCON 2021 qualifiers, CHAN 2020, club competitions

  • CAF 42nd General Assembly scheduled for Cameroon in April postponed

  • CAF staff to work from home till end of March, staring March 20

  • All decisions in interest of global safety

  • World must united to combat the scourge

  • Condolences to all those that have lost loved one

  • Africa must play its part in the fight against the virus





Zimbabwe suspends cricket





Cameroon suspends CHAN



The Championship of African Nations, CHAN, a CAF organized competition has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was meant to take place in Cameroon in April 2020.



The local organizing committee after a meeting on Tuesday (March 17) announced the decision to suspend the competition which was slated for between April 4 – 25.



Cameroon currently has 10 confirmed cases of the coronavirus even though government has yet to impose restrictions on sporting events as at today.



CHAN is a version of the African Cup of Nations but is reserved for players that ply their trade on the continent. The current champions are Morocco who beat Nigeria in the final of the last tournament in 2018.



Namibia’s football body had confirmed that they were withdrawing their participation from the competition. CAF last week suspended all 2021 Cup of Nations qualifiers over the pandemic. FIFA had also advised last week that all international matches be halted.





Tanzania suspends annual Uhuru torch race



Tanzania president John Magufuli announced over the weekend that an annual torch race has been suspended over the coronavirus outbreak. The president said he had taken the decision “after consulting with the Vice President and Prime Minister.”



“I have decided to temporarily suspend the Uhuru torch race until coronavirus is contained. The money which was set for the race should now be directed to preparedness of the facilities for addressing possible coronavirus cases,” he said.



At the time of the statement, Tanzania had not recorded a case. On Monday, the first case was confirmed. The victim is a woman aged 46 who arrived in the country on 15th of March 2020 and was isolated Mt. Meru Hospital, reports said.



The Uhuru Torch (Swahili: Mwenge wa Uhuru, literally “Torch of Freedom”) is one of the National Symbols of Tanzania. It is a kerosene torch. It symbolizes freedom and light. The 2020 edition was set to kick off from Zanzibar.



Countries suspend football leagues



Botswana and South Sudan all announced similar bans. Ethiopia has also banned public gatherings including sporting events whiles Ivory Coast has followed suit, both on Monday.



Ghana became the eight African country to have its football league suspended after the president announced a ban on public gatherings on Sunday evening.



Shortly after, the football association in a statement said it had suspended all football competitions across the country. “Public gatherings are banned in Ghana. Funeral gatherings shouldn’t have more than 25 people,” President Akufo-Addo announced.



Algeria became the seventh African country on record to have suspended its league on Sunday. The measure forms part of nationwide lockdown on sporting competitions.



Other countries that have suspended football competitions officially are: Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, DRC, Gabon, and Sudan. The South African league body said it was meeting to decide on a way forward after President Ramaphosa announced a ban on public gatherings.



Meanwhile the continent’s football governing body, CAF, and the world body, FIFA, have all advised that competitive fixtures be suspended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.



Statement: FIFA recommends all international fixtures be halted



In light of the current situation concerning the Coronavirus, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided that the general football rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the up-coming international windows in March/April.



The situation is rapidly evolving across the world and various international travel restrictions have already been imposed by different public authorities.



FIFA understands that to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not.



To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public. The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies.





CAF to go ahead with competitive fixtures





CAF to go ahead with competitive fixtures



While the World Health Organization has declared that the coronavirus has moved from epidemic to pandemic status, more worrying than ever, the Confederation of African Football has decided to maintain the programming of all its competitions, namely, the qualifiers for the CAN 2021 scheduled for 25-31 March, and the CHAN 2020 to be held from 4 to 25 April.



A decision taken on the basis of daily reports from the WHO, which prove that no African country to date has been declared high risk contrary to the evolution of COVID-19 worldwide. 



Present in a dozen countries of the continent with 111 confirmed cases, the pandemic is advancing at chameleon-like pace in Africa while there are more than 100,000 confirmed cases worldwide with thousands of deaths.



Some countries, such as Kenya, have travel restrictions in place for sportsmen and women, which for sure could reduce the participation of some key days that national teams might need to win matches during the qualifiers for the AFCON 2021. Under these conditions, is it still possible to organise these competitions?



The spread of the Coronavirus in recent days has compelled several countries on the continent affected by the COVID-19 to take drastic measures.



This is the case of Algeria, which has cancelled all public events, especially sports. Morocco has decreed that all future football matches will be held behind closed doors. The same goes for Egypt.



Statement: Kenya Athletics issues directives



Following a directive from the GOK (Government of Kenya) and due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, AK has suspended all clearance and travel to international events for athletes & athlete support personnel until further notice.



In a bid to safeguard the athletes and consequently the country from the virus, we urge all athletes to cancel travel arrangements for the next one month pending further communication. We apologize for any inconveniences caused.



Statement: World Football Summit postponed due to coronavirus outbreak



In the light of the ‘COVID-19’ outbreak, which has been officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), we have been forced to take the difficult decision to postpone the celebration of WFS Africa, scheduled for March 17-18 in Durban, South Africa.



After closely monitoring the evolving coronavirus outbreak and assessing the risk to our visitors, we have concluded, together with the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal, our Main Partner, that this is the only way to guarantee the well-being of all our visitors.



During the last few months we have strived to put together an event of the caliber that the African football industry deserves. We were extremely excited with our first-ever African summit and looking forward to welcoming the continent’s most relevant leaders and stakeholders. This decision is heart-breaking for the WFS team.



We want to thank all our speakers, business partners, exhibitors, delegates and members of the media for your enthusiastic support and apologize for any inconvenience. We would also like to underline the solid leadership demonstrated by the South African government and the crucial guidance provided by our Main Partner, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.



We look forward to continue growing our partnership in order to build the best possible platform for the African football industry to meet. We will keep monitoring the situation closely while exploring options to reschedule WFS Africa for July-August 2020 depending on the global evolution of the outbreak. Further details will be confirmed as soon as possible.



March 11: FIFA reschedules Congress in Ethiopia



Football’s world governing body, FIFA, has rescheduled its 70th Congress that was scheduled for May 2020 at the African Union’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The event has been moved to September 2020 in Addis Ababa.



An official FIFA statement issued on Wednesday (March 11) read in part: “On account of the spread of COVID-19, numerous international bodies and public health authorities have advised against the organisation of international events.



“Concerns over the health and well-being of participants, as well as travel restrictions in many countries, have resulted in the cancellation or postponement of many such events in various parts of the world.



“Mindful of this, and given the wish of FIFA to organise a Congress which all member associations are able to attend, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to reschedule the 70th FIFA Congress from Friday 5 June 2020 to Friday 18 September 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”



In June 2019, FIFA announced Addis Ababa as host of the gathering of world football governing body’s supreme legislative body, the FIFA Congress. The announcement was made at the end of the 69th Congress which took place in the French capital, Paris.



“In addition, the FIFA Council meeting planned for Friday 20 March 2020 has also been rescheduled to a date yet to be confirmed in June-July 2020 at the Home of FIFA in Zurich or via video conference,” the statement concluded.



Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
Notify of

AFCON moved to 2022, delayed CHAN slated for Jan. 2021

AFCON to be played in 2022, CHAN 2020 slated for January 2021.

The Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football, CAF, has announced the postponement of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON to January 2022 citing the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament had been scheduled to take place between January and February next year. The football governing body, however decided that the local version of the AFCON, the Championship of African Nations, CHAN, will take place in January 2021.

It had originally been slated to be played in April this year. Both competitions will be hosted by Cameroon.

In a March 2020 announcement suspending the 2020 CHAN, CAF Organizing after a meeting in Cameroon cited amongst others, the confinement of population in many countries, restrictions imposed on grouping of teams and officials and the closure of borders as well as disruptions in air links between many countries as factors.

At the time, the decision followed the postponement of the AFCON 2021 qualifiers by CAF. The African football governing body had earlier this year decided to maintain the organization of its competitions.

Decisions of CAF Executive Meeting – 30 June 2020

The committee decided as follows;

Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021

After consultation with stakeholders and taking into consideration the current global situation, the tournament has been rescheduled for January 2022. The date for the final tournament and the remaining matches of the qualifiers will be communicated in due course.

Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Cameroon 2020

The final tournament has been postponed till January 2021 in Cameroon.

“The CAF Executive Committee is satisfied with t the Cameroonian authorities for their commitment towards the hosting of the two competitions. Cameroon is ready to host either competition and are within schedule,” CAF President Ahmad Ahmad said.

Interclubs 2019/20 season

The Total CAF Champions League and Total CAF Confederation Cup, will resume in September with a Final Four (4) format. Semi-Final matches will be played in a single match.

Total CAF Champions League = Venue for Final Four to be decided

Total CAF Confederation Cup = Morocco will host the Final Four

Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2020

Due to challenging conditions, the 2020 edition of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations has been cancelled.

Meanwhile, the CAF Women’s Champions League will be launched in 2021. The format and other details will be communicated in due course.

Zonal Qualifiers for U-20 & U-17 Africa Cup of Nations

A meeting with the Organising Competitions for Youth Football and the Zonal Unions has been proposed to finalize the arrangements for the zonal qualifiers. Meanwhile, the U-17 AFCON will take place in July 2021.

Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations 2020

Following the withdrawal of Uganda, a new hosting bid will be launched for the organization of the final tournament either in 2020 or 2021.

Headquarters Agreement

CAF President Ahmad Ahmad commended the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt under the leadership of His Excellency Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who appended his signature to the 10-year agreement on 24 June 2020.

With the new agreement, CAF and its officials will benefit from immunities and privileges granted to diplomatic missions in the territory of the Arab Republic of Egypt in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention.

CAF Ordinary General Assembly

The 42nd CAF Ordinary General Assembly has been rescheduled for December 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As per the recommendations of the CAF Governance Committee, the Elective General Assembly will be held on 12 March 2021.

CAF Awards 2020

Cancellation of the 2020 edition. Major partners for the event, Pickalbatros Group, has re-affirmed their contractual commitment towards the next two (2) editions.

Financial Support to Member Associations

CAF has allocated an additional USD 16.2 Million to assist Member Associations to mitigate challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each Member Associations will be entitled to USD 300,000.

Appointment of Commercial Director

Confirmation of the appointment of Ali Aissaoui as Commercial Director. Prior to joining CAF, the Moroccan served as Business Development Manager of FC Barcelona.

Update on Transform CAF 2021

There has been giant stride in the execution of Transform CAF 2021 which was launched during the CAF Executive Committee in Doha, Qatar, last February. The CAF Administration will continue with the implementation of the major points towards achieving the targets of the project.

Kickoff! Somalia reopens renovated national stadium in Mogadishu

Somalia for years now honoured international games in Djibouti because of insecurity in the capital.

Somalia’s national stadium in the capital Mogadishu officially reopened today years after it was abandoned due to insecurity. A game was also honoured today after extensive renovations since 2018 when government took control of the facility.

It was adversely affected by the country’s civil war, at a point it was occupied by Al-Shabaab insurgents and later by the African Union’s AMISOM forces deployed to combat the group.

The European Union, Norway and other development partners supported the reconstruction efforts which began after the facility was officially handed over to the government by AMISOM in 2018.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo was accompanied by top government officials for the reopening ceremony as they watched the game, the first in three decades at the venue according to some reports.

Somalia for years now honoured international games in Djibouti because of insecurity in the capital. The stadium was captured from Al Shabaab during an operation to liberate the city in September 2011. AMISOM subsequently used it as a base till the handover.

According to a company contracted to work on grassing the pitch, its constructions works started on the in late January 2020 and were completed on the 10th of April 2020. Domo Sports Grass added that reopening had been hampered by COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the latest national facility to be reopened in Mogadishu. over the weekend, the president also oversaw the reopening of the National Theater, which had also faced a similar fate due to insecurity.

Egyptian giant Zamalek to boycott league [Football Planet]

Uncertainty still lingers in the forthcoming 2021 CAF. The cancellation of FIFA dates in September further complicates the CAF’s 2020 games

Uncertainty still lingers in the forthcoming 2021 CAF. The cancellation of FIFA dates in September further complicates the CAF’s 2020 games.

In Egypt, after issuing several threats, the Zamalek have finally taken action. The frustration of some clubs with the decision to resume the championship takes a dramatic turn. The Cairo-based club has announced that it will not be resuming the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Nigerian international Victor Osimhen who plays for Lille has this Monday been awarded the Marc-Vivien Foé Prize for the Best African player in French Ligue 1. The 21-year-old Super Eagle striker scored a total of 13 goals in French League 1. He succeeds the Ivorian Nicolas Pépé.

African quartet help Liverpool to Premier League history

CAF described the four players as Kings: ‘Making Africa Proud.’

Liverpool won the Premier League after three decades of waiting. The Reds long-awaited victory was sealed when Chelsea beat Manchester City on Thursday evening. The 2019 / 2020 season is yet to end but the points gap between them and City is unassailable.

Jurgen Klopp’s side thus had cause to celebrate through Thursday night, a famous victory without even kicking a ball. They had won their mid-week game against Crystal Palace by 4 unanswered goals.

The Confederation of African Football, CAF, highlighted the impact of Anfield’s African quartet in the feat. CAF described the four players as Kings: ‘Making Africa Proud.’ The four are:

  • Sadio Mane of Senegal
  • Mohammed Salah of Egypt
  • Joel Matip of Cameroon
  • Naby Keita of Guinea

Mane and Salah were joint top scorers last season along with Arsenal and Gabon’s Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Liverpool are the newest club to have the honour of winning the league – after Manchester United and City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers.

The team’s next game is against Manchester City on July 2. The Citizens will be expected to give the new champions a guard of honour at the game which will be played behind closed doors due to COVID-19 regulations since football resumed.

CAF Confed Cup, Champions League [Football Planet]

A glimmer of hope for CAF inter-club competitions.

A glimmer of hope for CAF inter-club competitions. The Champions League and the CAF Confederations could resume in September. But CAF has yet to fix the exact date for the resumption of the two club competitions.

The coronavirus and its consequences on private initiatives. How do training centres experience the crisis? What are their expectations? We speak with a former Nigerian international, Stephen Abarowei, manager and owner of a football academy in Lagos about this.

And then a short tour of Europe with the return of the English Premier League and  the Italian Serie A. Sadio Mane was in action for his club Liverpool in their Mersey side derby drawn game with Everton. Egypt’s Mohamed Salah was an unused substitute. Liverpool now need to win two of their remaining league games.

Our Wahany Johnson Sambou has these and more on Football Planet, your weekly all-football news show.