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AFCON 2021: Dates, COVID-19 fears, confirmed groups and Premier League participants
18/12/2021 14:27:05

The 2021 Africa Cup Of Nations is just around the corner as some of the world’s best players prepare to go head-to-head in Cameroon.

Players from all over the Premier League and the rest of the world will leave their clubs at a crucial point in the season in order to help their nation earn the right to be named the top football country in Africa.

Riyad Mahrez captained Algeria to victory over Senegal in Cairo in the final of the last tournament in 2019.

And now, with the competition lasting around a month, there’s a feast of football for fans to look forward to once again.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the competition.

AFCON 2021: Dates

The 2021 Africa Cup Of Nations begins on Sunday, January 9 with host nation Cameroon taking on Burkina Faso.

The knockout stages of the competition start on Sunday, January 23 with the competition’s final set for Sunday, February 6.

Group Stage: Sunday, January 9 to Thursday, January 20

Round of 16: Sunday, January 23 to Wednesday, January 26

Quarter-final: Saturday, January 29 to Sunday, January 30

Semi-finals: Wednesday, February 2 to Thursday, February 3

Third place play-off: Sunday, February 6

Final: Sunday, February 6

AFCON 2021: Competition format

The 24 competing nations have been split into six groups of four teams with each side facing three group fixtures.

The six group winners, six group runners up and the four best third-place sides in the group will then progress to the round of 16.

From there each tie will be a one-off encounter with the clash decided by extra time and penalties to decide who will progress to the next round.

AFCON 2021: Could it be canceled?

The African Cup Of Nations could be canceled for a second consecutive year due to fears over the Omnicron variant of COVID-19.

Central African Federation chief eron Mosengo-Omba said: “The meetings were important in getting a level of understanding on the state of readiness in Cameroon,” he said.

“There is a lot of work that is being done. We have to continue with the same momentum. We cannot rest. We have to work around the clock.

“I’m not resting, the LOC [Local Organising Committee] cannot rest. CAF cannot rest. Everyone must join the efforts. We want to see a great TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations here in Cameroon in January next year.

“Together with the Minister of Sport, we discussed all the pending issues and the way forward.”

AFCON 2021: Confirmed groups

Group A

Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde

Group B

Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi

Group C

Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon

Group D

Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau

Group E

Algeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Cote D’Ivoire

Group F

Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia

AFCON 2021: Potential Premier League participants


Thomas Partey (Ghana)

Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)

Aston Villa

Mahmoud Trezeguet (Egypt)

Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso)

Marvelous Nakamba (Zimbabwe)


Julian Jeanvier (Guinea)

Frank Onyeka (Nigeria)

Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Ghana)


Yves Bissouma (Mali)


Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast)


Edouard Mendy (Senegal)

Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)

Crystal Palace

Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)

Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana)

Jordan Ayew (Ghana)

Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)


Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Ivory Coast)

Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)


Daniel Amartey (Ghana)

Nampalys Mendy (Senegal)

Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria)

Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)


Mo Salah (Egypt)

Naby Keita (Guinea)

Sadio Mane (Senegal)

Manchester City

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

Manchester United

Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast)

Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast)


Moussa Djenepo (Mali)

Mohammed Salisu (Ghana)


Peter Etebo (Nigeria)

William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria)

Adam Masina (Morocco)

Ismaila Sarr (Senegal)

Emmanuel Dennis (Nigeria)

West Ham

Said Benrahma (Algeria)


Romain Saiss (Morocco)

Willy Boly (Ivory Coast)

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