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The year 2022 promises to be rich in sporting events for the African continent. The African Cup of Nations (CAN) and the FIFA World Cup are the two most anticipated competitions. It will also be necessary to follow the women’s CAN, the African Athletics Championships and the CAN of handball, even if the dates of the latter have not yet been fixed. Review of the main meetings.
- African Cup of Nations Football (Cameroon, January 9 to February 6)
Cameroon should have organized the CAN in 2019. But faced with the accumulation of delays on the construction sites of the competition sites, the African Football Confederation (CAF) had deemed it more prudent to entrust it to Egypt. The country, which only hosted the Cup once, in 1972, has been singled out several times for failing to take advantage of the extra time to complete the work.
The tournament, supposed to be held in 2021, has however been postponed to 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Rumors of a possible relocation to Qatar, then of a cancellation due to the threat of the Omicron variant and pressure from European clubs, hardly inclined to release their African players in the middle of the season, have even circulated, forcing the African Football Confederation (CAF) to deny.
All the major African selections, except the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, will be present. Algeria, title holders, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Cameroon, never as dangerous as when you do not expect it, are the main contenders in a competition which will see the Comoros and the Gambia make their big debut and Malawi, Sudan and Sierra Leone make their comeback after several years of absence.
- African Handball Cup (Morocco, date to be determined)
The African Handball Cup should have taken place in Morocco from January 13 to 22, in the Moroccan cities of Laâyoune and Guelmim. But on December 10, the African Handball Confederation (CAH) announced the postponement of the competition, without specifying the schedule. This decision, contested by Morocco, was taken following appeals filed by some federations after the draw for the final phase.
Sixteen selections are qualified. Algeria, for its part, decided to boycott the tournament to protest against the organization of matches in Laâyoune, the main city of Western Sahara, because of the diplomatic conflict between it and Morocco over this region. Egypt, defending champion, Tunisia, which holds the record for victories in the final phase (10), Morocco and Angola are the main candidates for the continental coronation.
- African Athletics Championships (Mauritius, June 8 to 12)
For the third time in its history, Mauritius will host the African Athletics Championships, after 1992 and 2006, at the Côte d’Or sports complex in Saint-Pierre. A site that hosted events during the Indian Ocean Islands Games in 2019. The designation of Mauritius came after a series of cancellations: the 2020 edition, scheduled for Oran, had been postponed by one year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A relocation of the championships had been considered in Algiers, then in Lagos (Nigeria), before being finally canceled. The 2022 edition, initially promised to Cameroon – too busy preparing for the football CAN – has finally been entrusted to Mauritius. The full list of athletes will be known once the qualifying phases have been completed.
- African Women’s Football Cup (Morocco, July 2 to 23)
Morocco, as the host country, is for the moment the only selection guaranteed to participate in the 2022 women’s CAN, which will take place for the first time with twelve teams. Canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19, the women’s CAN will make a comeback after four years of absence.
Defending Nigeria will have to eliminate Côte d’Ivoire in the last qualifying round in February to hope to defend their trophy. Cameroon, South Africa, Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal and Mali, used to the final stages, will also try to validate their presence in Morocco. The winner, the finalist and the two semi-finalists of this CAN 2022 will directly qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which will take place in Australia and New Zealand.
- FIFA World Cup (Qatar, November 21 to December 18)
Africa will know in March the names of the five selections that will represent it in Qatar. Ten are still in the race (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Senegal). Apart from Mali, all of them have already participated at least once in the World Cup.
The draw for the third round will take place on January 26. The seeds are expected to be Senegal, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Nigeria or Egypt, depending on the status of the International Football Federation standings just before the draw.