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CAF Announces New Dates For 2025 AFCON In Morocco

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The next Africa Cup of Nations will be played in Morocco from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026, Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe said on Friday.

“I am confident that the CAF AFCON Morocco 2025 will be extremely successful and the best AFCON in the history of this competition,” he said.

CAF held a virtual executive committee at their headquarters in Cairo on Friday evening after which Motsepe made the announcement.

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Originally scheduled for June and July 2025, the AFCON was moved to avoid a clash with the inaugural Club World Cup in the United States from June 15 to July 13 next year.

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An added challenge for CAF officials was the desire to avoid a clash of dates with the UEFA Champions League in Europe.

Matchday six of the elite European club competition ends on December 11 2025 and matchday seven begins on January 21 2026.

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However, the new dates are sure to upset many Premier League clubs as the Christmas-New Year period is frenetic with teams playing many matches in a short period.

English media reports have suggested clubs might not release African stars as they are compelled to do so for only one international championship per year and the next World Cup is in 2026.

CAF could argue that it is the 2025 AFCON, although most of the tournament will be staged the following year.

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Finding suitable dates for the AFCON, a 24-nation tournament won by hosts the Ivory Coast last February, has become increasingly difficult.

A switch to mid year worked for the 2019 edition in the searing heat of Egypt in so far as it avoided a clash with the European club seasons.

Dramatic profit increase

However, the two subsequent editions, in Cameroon and the Ivory Coast, had to be staged in January and February to avoid the rainy seasons in central and west Africa.

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The qualifying draw for the 2025 AFCON is scheduled for Johannesburg on July 4 with 48 hopefuls to be divided into 12 groups.

READ ALSO CAF Women Champions League: Edo Queens Get Hero’s Welcome, Obaseki Doles Out Cash Reward On Team:

Morocco will take part to gain competitive match practice, but are guaranteed a place at the 24-team finals as hosts.

Unlike the four-yearly European Championship, Copa America and Asian Cup, the AFCON is held every two years because it delivers most of the CAF revenue.

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In a recent TV interview, Motsepe said CAF made an $80 million (€75 million) profit from the last AFCON, hosted by the Ivory Coast in January and February this year.

This was a dramatic increase from previous editions, which produced an average profit of about four million dollars, according to the South African billionaire.

The 2024 Women’s AFCON (WAFCON) has also been postponed and will now be played in Morocco from July 5-26 next year.

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New dates will also have to be found for the African Nations Championship (CHAN), originally scheduled for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda this year.

Not even the qualifying draw has been made for a competition restricted to home-based footballers and won by Senegal in Algeria last year, and CAF have not explained the delay.

There has also been no news from CAF on a second edition of the African Football League (AFL), initially called the African Super League.

Planned to be a 24-club mini-league and knockout competition featuring the highest ranked clubs in the continent, it debuted last year with just eight sides involved in a three-round affair.

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Were the original format to be introduced, clubs would play between 14 and 21 matches in a continent where air travel presents challenges due to limited direct flights between countries.

“You can turn the lights off on domestic football if this (AFL) goes ahead,” warned John Comitis, the chairman of top-flight South African club Cape Town City.

AFP

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BREAKING: Spain Beat England 2-1 To Win Euro 2024

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The Spanish national team on Sunday night defeated the Three Lions of England 2-1 to lift the Euro 2024 trophy.

Spain’s Mikel Oyarzabal 86th minute goal secured the trophy for a record fourth time.

Nico Williams had earlier in the second half put Spain ahead in Berlin, Germany, before Cole Palmer levelled for England.

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READ ALSO: [BREAKING] PHOTOS: Germany, Denmark Euro 2024 Game Halted Due To Violent Storm

Meanwhile, Marc Guehi’s effort to equalise for the Three Lions at the last minute was frustrated by Dani Olmo to finally sealed the trophy for the Spanish team.

Details later…

 

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VIDEO: Former Liverpool Striker Roberto Firmino Becomes Pastor In Hometown

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Former Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino has embraced a new calling, announcing his ordination as an evangelical pastor at the age of 32.

The Brazilian footballer shared the news on his social media accounts, revealing a significant transition in his life.

Firmino, alongside his wife, was ordained as a pastor at the church they founded three years ago. The dedication ceremony took place last Sunday in his hometown of Maceio.

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In a heartfelt message, Firmino expressed that becoming a pastor was not an initial goal, but a mission that emerged from his encounter with Christ.

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“Since our encounter with Christ, a longing burns in our hearts… that people may know this love that has reached us. Now we have another responsibility… To be pastors according to the heart of God and to cooperate with the Kingdom,” Firmino stated.

He also extended his gratitude to pastors Jairo and Keila for their belief and encouragement in his spiritual journey.

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Firmino enjoyed a prolific career at Liverpool from 2015 to 2023, during which he secured seven major titles, including the 2019/20 Premier League and the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League.

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One of his standout moments was scoring the decisive goal in the 2019 Club World Cup final, securing the title for the Reds.

Last season, Firmino played 34 games for Al-Ahli, scoring nine goals. He also represented the Brazilian national team, participating in the 2018 World Cup.

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Currently, Roberto Firmino continues his football career with the Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli, where he played 34 matches in all competitions last season, scoring nine goals and providing seven assists.

VIDEO:

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Finidi George Gets New Job

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Former Super Eagles coach Finidi George has taken up another managerial job at Nigeria Premier Football League side, Rivers United, barely three weeks after resigning as the head coach of Nigeria’s men’s senior national team, The PUNCh reports.

Finidi was announced as the head coach of the 2022 NPFL champions on Wednesday with an unveiling set to follow on Thursday.

Rivers United Football Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Finidi George as our new Technical Manager,” the club said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Finidi brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our team, having had a distinguished playing career spanning over fifteen years.

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The statement reads, “His impressive credentials include winning the Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles in 1994, the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995, and the Nigeria Premier Football League with Enyimba International FC in 2023.

“As a coach, Finidi has demonstrated his ability to lead teams to success, and we are confident that he will bring his expertise and passion to our club. We are excited to have him on board and look forward to a successful tenure under his leadership.”

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Finidi left his role as the Super Eagles head coach in June after two games in charge. It was in the wake of the team’s poor performance in two 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and the Benin Republic which forced the Nigeria Football Federation to resort to hiring a foreign technical adviser for the team.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Finidi George Resigns As Super Eagles Head Coach

Before taking the Super Eagles job, Finidi spent two full seasons and almost completed the third with Enyimba, leading them to their record-ninth NPFL title in 2023.

At Rivers United, he takes over the leadership from head coach Evans Ogenyi, who guided the club until the end of last season after the dismissal of the long-serving Stanley Eguma.

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A native of Port Harcourt, the 53-year-old began his career with Calabar Rovers, Iwanyanwu Nationale and represented local club Sharks FC – which was merged in 2016 with Dolphins to form Rivers United – for two seasons before embarking on a stellar European career.

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