New Dates Announced for AFCON 2025 in Morocco

[SOURCE: Cafonline] The Confédération Africaine de Football (“CAF”) Executive Committee (“EXCO”) today announced the dates of Africa’s most popular and competitive football competition, the CAF TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (“AFCON”) which will take place in Morocco.

Morocco is set to host the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the second time, with the tournament now rescheduled to run from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026. This significant shift from the originally planned dates in June and July 2025 aligns with strategic considerations to avoid conflicts with major international football events, such as the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Champions League.

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The upcoming AFCON 2025 will see 24 teams compete in what promises to be a showcase of African football excellence. The CAF Executive Committee has also confirmed the dates for the CAF TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON), which will take place in Morocco from July 5 to July 26, 2025. This marks a pivotal moment in the growth of women’s football on the continent.

CAF President Dr. Patrice Motsepe expressed high expectations for the tournament, anticipating it to be the most successful AFCON in history. He acknowledged the complex discussions that led to the date changes and reiterated CAF’s commitment to advancing the interests of African players globally. Motsepe also praised the support of Morocco’s King Mohamed VI and the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Football (FRMF) in hosting these prestigious events.

FRMF President Fouzi Lekjaa emphasized Morocco’s readiness to provide the best conditions for the tournament, aiming to honor Africa through exemplary hospitality and organization.

The decision to move AFCON to the holiday season underscores a strategic effort to position the tournament uniquely in the global football calendar, setting the stage for an unprecedented celebration of African football.

Key Takeaways

  • The 2025 AFCON will take place in Morocco from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026.
  • This will be the second time Morocco has hosted the AFCON, with the previous edition held in 1988.
  • The tournament was originally scheduled for June-July 2025 but was rescheduled to avoid conflicts with the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Champions League.
  • The 2025 AFCON will feature a 24-team format, with Morocco as the sole guaranteed participant as the host nation.
  • The qualifying draw for the tournament is set to take place on July 4, 2024, in Johannesburg.

AFCON 2025 Dates: Morocco to Host Premier African Football Tournament

Patrice Motsepe, heading the Confederation of African Football, is upbeat about the AFCON 2025’s impact. Drawing from a previous AFCON in the Ivory Coast, the tournament there saw CAF bag an impressive $80 million. This is a huge leap from the usual $4 million in profits. It highlights the AFCON’s rising appeal and significance within African football.

Being the host grants Morocco entry into the finals, ensuring preparation through rival matches before the main tournament. The final team selection will happen at the July 4 draw in Johannesburg, with 48 teams vying for 23 spots.

afcon tournament format

The 2025 AFCON’s buzz is palpable, yet it poses a few logistical challenges for CAF. They must reschedule the CHAN and tackle uncertainties around the AFL, a 24-team club proposition. These issues could impact local football clubs.

“The 2025 AFCON in Morocco will be the best AFCON in the history of this competition,” stated CAF president Patrice Motsepe.

The African football family is all eyes on AFCON 2025, waiting for a game-changer in the continent’s key football scene.

Navigating the Scheduling Challenges

For the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), organizers had to strategically plan to avoid overlapping with key football tournaments. Initially set for June-July, the AFCON moved to December-January. This shift avoided conflicts with the Club World Cup in the US and the UEFA Champions League in Europe.

This move was a first for the AFCON, changing its schedule from January-February to December-January. With the Champions League running till December 11, 2025, and not restarting until January 21, 2026, the AFCON games had a clear window.

Avoiding Clashes with Club World Cup and UEFA Champions League

Moving the AFCON was crucial to prevent overlaps with other significant football events. The Club World Cup, held from June 15 to July 13, 2025, in the US, necessitated this change.

Consideration was also given to the UEFA Champions League. Its last game was on December 11, 2025, with the next phase starting January 21, 2026. This ensured the AFCON had a clear timeframe for its matches.

The careful adjustment of the AFCON schedule to fit the global football calendar aimed to reduce conflicts. This planning works towards a smooth tournament for fans and players. It also shows the CAF’s dedication to the AFCON’s prosperity.

Impact on Premier League Clubs and African Players

The rescheduling of the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is set to challenge Premier League clubs with African talents. Shifting the AFCON to December could clash with the Premier League’s bustling holiday season. This might lead to a jam-packed schedule for many clubs.

Initial plans suggested holding the tournament from July to mid-August to steer clear of major European seasons. Now, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is mulling over moving it to later in 2025 or even early 2026.

This change troubles Premier League outfits, especially regarding their playing squads. Star athletes, such as Mohamed Salah, Andre Onana, and Thomas Partey, could see international duty in the AFCON. This might leave their clubs understaffed.

Another concern is FIFA’s regulation on player participations. This rule prohibits clubs from releasing the same player for more than one international final each year. Such a stipulation could impact athlete availability for both the World Cup and the AFCON in a single calendar year.

Furthermore, these scheduling shifts might alter the recruitment strategies of Premier League clubs. Take Arsenal, for instance. They foresee no player conflicts in December 2025, lessening the AFCON’s blow on their operations.

But, the AFCON’s new timing could disrupt plans for other clubs. They might have to tweak their rosters to manage the upcoming tournament.

Potential Conflicts with Release of Players During Busy Holiday Period

The AFCON’s proposed timing, amid late December 2025 and late January 2026, coincides with the festive rush in the Premier League. This scenario poses challenges for club managers. Simultaneously, the tournament overlaps with the USA-hosted FIFA Club World Cup, featuring 32 teams during the summer of 2025.

This situation has Premier League clubs worried. They must strike a balance between their local and international obligations.

Fifpro has initiated legal proceedings against FIFA, arguing over fixture-related decisions. The AFCON dates also sandwich between the expanded Champions League’s sixth and seventh fixture rounds. This further complicates the football calendar, affecting English football significantly. It could prompt a reevaluation of FIFA’s international call-up regulations.

Qualifiers and Participating Teams

Set in Morocco, the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations will gather top teams from Africa. A qualifying draw will take place on July 4, 2024, in Johannesburg. Morocco, as the host, secures its place in the 24-team finals.

52 CAF teams will compete for 23 spots in the 2025 AFCON through qualifiers. Teams will be grouped, and based on their performance, the top teams and the best third-placed ones will progress.

Pot 1Pot 2Pot 3Pot 4
Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Algeria, Mali, Cameroon, South Africa, Burkina Faso, DR CongoCape Verde, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Zambia, Uganda, Angola, Benin, Mauritania, Namibia, KenyaMadagascar, Mozambique, Congo, Togo, Libya, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Sierra Leone, SudanCentral African Republic, Niger, Gambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Liberia, South Sudan, Chad

The seeding for the preliminaries will use the February 2024 FIFA World Ranking. Teams like Ivory Coast and Nigeria will likely be in Pot 1. The group stage begins on September 2, 2024.

The 2025 AFCON’s qualifying draw is eagerly awaited, aiming to fill 23 spots without Morocco’s need to qualify. The event will usher in a spirited journey for numerous teams aiming for success.

“The 2025 Africa Cup of Nations will be a historic event for African football, showcasing the best talent our continent has to offer. We are excited to welcome the world to Morocco and deliver a tournament that will captivate fans across the globe.”

– CAF President

Profitability and Revenue Generation for CAF

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has seen a major rise in profitability due to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). CAF president Patrice Motsepe stated the organization earned an astounding $80 million (€75 million) from the 2023 AFCON in Ivory Coast. This amount is notably higher than previous AFCONs, which averaged $4 million in profits.

Unlike the more sporadic European Championship and others, the AFCON occurs biennially. This regular schedule significantly contributes to CAF’s income, making it a cornerstone of their financial success.

Several factors contribute to the AFCON’s improved profitability. These include better sponsorship deals and broadcasting rights, along with the tournament’s continuous popularity among fans. Moreover, hosting in different African countries broadens CAF’s revenue streams and commercial opportunities.

The AFCON’s rising profitability underscores an increasing interest in African football. CAF’s strategic focus to boost the tournament’s financial impact has been successful. With Morocco hosting the 2025 AFCON, there’s an optimistic outlook for CAF’s future revenue streams.

“The AFCON is a crucial revenue stream for CAF, as it is held every two years, unlike the less frequent European Championship, Copa America, and Asian Cup.”

The AFCON’s success benefits not just CAF but also African football as a whole. The tournament’s increased revenue is vital for investing in grassroots, infrastructure, and talent programs. This investment is crucial for the growth of football across the continent.


Fans should prepare for thrills at the tournament in Morocco in 2025. CAF president Patrice Motsepe is sure it will be the best yet. The 2025 AFCON aims to be a standout event, drawing football lovers from Africa and the world.


When will the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) take place?

The 2025 AFCON will take place in Morocco, running from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026.

Why was the AFCON 2025 tournament date changed?

Originally, the AFCON 2025 was set for June and July. It was rescheduled to December-January. This change was to prevent overlap with the Club World Cup’s kickoff in the U.S. and the UEFA Champions League in Europe.

What are the expectations for the AFCON 2025 in Morocco?

Patrice Motsepe, President of CAF, is optimistic. He anticipates the 2025 AFCON in Morocco to top all previous competitions, naming it the “best AFCON in this event’s history.”

How many teams will participate in the AFCON 2025?

In the 2025 AFCON, 24 teams will compete. Currently, 48 teams are fighting for these spots, with the final qualifying draw set for July 4 in Johannesburg.

How will the AFCON 2025 qualifying process work?

The 24-team tournament’s qualifying draw is planned for July 4 in Johannesburg. Teams will be divided into 12 groups. Each group will contest to secure a spot in the finals. Morocco automatically qualifies as the host nation.

What is the financial impact of the AFCON for CAF?

In 2023, the CAF profited million (€75 million) from the AFCON in the Ivory Coast. This marked a substantial increase from previous events, as announced by President Motsepe.


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