The local federation boss says they are in support of the move taken by the African body to postpone the biennial tournament
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has said they are in support of the decision taken by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to postpone the next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The 33rd edition of the biennial tournament was due to begin in Cameroon on January 9, 2021, but has now been pushed back to January 2022 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the continent.
But in a statement issued on Wednesday, Caf said they had postponed the tournament to 2022 after consulting with stakeholders and taking into consideration the current global situation.
“After consultation with stakeholders and taking into consideration the current global situation, the tournament has been rescheduled for January 2022,” Caf confirmed in a statement.
“The date for the final tournament and the remaining matches of the qualifiers will be communicated in due course.”
The Kenyan FA boss Mwendwa has since told Goal they are in support of the move because Caf “did not have any other options other than to postpone.”
“We are in support of the decision taken by Caf because if you look at the scenario they found themselves in, they did not have any other options to take,” Mwendwa told Goal on Friday.
“It was the only decision they had to take, to postpone the tournament and as Kenya, we are ready to play again when Caf is ready.”
Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi also supported the move, saying it was important to give the health of players and those involved a big priority.
“I think Caf have done the right thing, the situation currently is not the best to play in the tournament and we are okay with the decision they have taken,” Kimanzi also told Goal.
On Thursday, Fifa announced that September’s international football window would be cancelled for all territories outside Europe and South America, denying Africa a critical window in which to play some of the outstanding four rounds of qualification ahead of the proposed January 2021 start date.
African football’s governing body has not announced whether the 34th edition of the tournament—scheduled for Ivory Coast in 2023—will also be pushed back..
While Caf could play some of the outstanding qualifiers in the October-November international window, this would impact the World Cup qualifying campaign, where the five qualifying teams must play in eight qualifiers before the Qatar tournament in late 2022.
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The Africa Cup of Nations was long-held during January and February, but moved to a June-July schedule ahead of the 2019 event, with newly elected president Ahmad Ahmad keen to avoid the club-vs-country disputes that often overshadowed a tournament being played during the European winter.
However, the 2021 tournament’s dates have already been moved once, with the original June-July 2021 dates brought forward to January due to the unfavourable climate in Cameroon during the summer months.