By Lawrence Trusida
The 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), originally scheduled to be held in June and July 2021, kicks-off this Sunday in Yaoundé, Cameroon and will run till the 6th of next month.
Hosts Cameroon get the ball rolling against Burkina Faso in the opening match.
The first postponement in January 2021 was a result of the host country’s own faulty preparations, and the other in June 2021 was attributed to the global Covid-19 pandemic that organisers and everyone else had hoped would be in retreat by now.
Twenty-four teams will take part in this year’s edition of the tournament which began in 1957 and nominally takes place every two years with rare exceptions.
The first tournament of the nations finals held in Sudan, featured just three teams with Egypt beating Ethiopia in the final having earlier overcome the hosts.
Algeria are the reigning champions having beaten Senegal 1-0 in the finals of the 32nd edition of the tournament hosted by Egypt in 2019.
There are six groups of four teams who play each other once, with the top two from each group automatically progressing to the last 16 knockout stage.
They will be joined by the four best third-placed teams, with the bottom six teams in each group and the two third placed teams with the worst records being eliminated.
Six venues across Cameroon will host matches as the world tunes into the first major international tournament of what looks like an incredibly hectic year of football in 2022.
The 60 thousand seater Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé is the main venue and will host the opening match and the final.
The other five venues are.
Stade Ahmadou Ahido, Yaounde
Japoma Stadium, Douala
Roumde Adija Stadium, Garoua
Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam, and
Limbe Stadium, Limbe.
The winners of the tournament will walk away with five million United States dollars – while runners-up will get 2.75 million United States dollars.
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will be used in all 52 matches at the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon.
Let the games begin!