The Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed some new changes ahead for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) that is set to be hosted by Cameroon.
The tournament was scheduled to take place in June and July but was changed because of the “unfavourable” weather in the country at that time of year.
It means a number of Premier League clubs could be without first-team players at a crucial stage of the season.
“It [2021 Africa Cup of Nations] will be played in Cameroon from 9 January to 6 February 2021. Date changed for weather reasons at Cameroon’s request,” read a statement from the Cameroon National Team
“We have reviewed the period of the competition as requested by the Cameroonian party due to unfavourable climatic conditions during the period initially slated.
“After listening to the various arguments and viewpoints – and in particular from the Cameroonian meteorological authorities, the coaches and players – the representatives of the Afcon organising committee, which received the mandate from Caf Executive Committee to take the decision, has granted this request.
“A detailed reported shall be presented to the members of the Executive Committee during its next session on 6 February.”
The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will be played in the middle of the Premier League
The move back to winter will affect the likes of Liverpool, who could have Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mané (Senegal) and Naby Keïta (Guinea) missing.
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) and Nicolas Pépé (Ivory Coast) are also likely to feature, with Manchester City, Manchester United and Leicester among other Premier League clubs who may be without first-team players.