Already we all know who will be hosting the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and that is Cameroon.
The AFCON 2021 is scheduled to be the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The biennial international men’s football championship of Africa tournament is likely to be held in Summer 2021.
Following CAF Executive Committee meeting on 24 January 2014, three official candidates emerged for the 2021 edition.
The countries whose bids were accepted include Algeria, Guinea and Ivory Coast. While DR Congo, Gabon and Zambia had their bids rejected.
This list was different from the list of the host nation bids for both the edition of 2019 and 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as announced by CAF in November 2013. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon as well as Zambia were also on the original list.
All three official candidates also bid for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations hosting right.
A postponement was made for the decision of the host country from early 2014 to allow each bidding country sufficient time to receive the inspection delegation.
Following the final vote at the CAF Executive Committee meeting on 20 September 2014, the hosts for 2019, 2021 and 2023 AFCON tournaments were announced. Cameroon was given 2019, Ivory Coast got 2021, and 2023 went to Guinea.
But on 30th November 2018, the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations hosting right was stripped from Cameroon by CAF.
However, CAF President Ahmad Ahmad awarded the AFCON 2021 hosting right to Cameroon.
As a result, Ivory Coast will now host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, and Guinea would host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations.
CAF President, on 30th January 2019, confirmed the timetable shift following a meeting with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
If the current format of a total of 24 teams is maintained, that means the same number will compete in the final tournament.
Only the hosts’ nation – Cameroon in this case – normally gets an automatic qualification spot, while the others will have to slug it out through a qualification tournament.
At the finals of the CAN 2021, the 24 teams will be drawn into six groups of four teams each.
When the CAN 2021 group stage is done, the top two teams from each group and the best third teams are allowed to advance to the round of 16 and the winners will advance to the quarterfinals and then the quarterfinal winners move to the semifinals.
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The semifinal losers will play the third-place match, while semifinal winners of the AFCON 2021 will play the final.