African Cup pushed back 6 days because of Ramadan

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah controls the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

CAIRO — This year's African Cup of Nations in Egypt has been pushed back by six days to cater for Ramadan and allow Muslim players time to rest and recover after a month of fasting.

The Confederation of African Football said Monday the tournament will now kick off on June 21 instead of June 15. The final was put back six days to July 19. The move came after a request from a group of North African nations and CAF approved the delay at a special executive committee meeting on Saturday.

Some of Africa's biggest stars, including Egypt forward Mohamed Salah and Senegal winger Sadio Mane, are Muslims.

Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, making it difficult for their teams to train or play. This year, Ramadan ends on June 4 and the move by CAF gives Muslim players nearly a week extra to prepare for Africa's top tournament.

This is the first year the African Cup will be held in June and July, coinciding with the European leagues' offseason and falling in line with other major tournaments like the World Cup and European Championship. This is also the first year the African Cup will be increased from 16 to 24 teams.

CAF confirmed April 12 as the date for the tournament draw, which will take place in front of the Sphinx and the pyramids in Giza.

The African soccer body also resolved complications with qualifying after Cameroon was stripped as host of the African Cup because of poor preparations and security concerns.

Cameroon, which is the defending champion, lost its automatic place at the tournament as host and must now qualify. To do that, Cameroon must avoid losing to Comoros at home in the final round of qualifying in March. If Comoros wins, it will make its debut and the African Cup will be played without the reigning champion.

Fourteen countries have already qualified, including first-time participants Madagascar and Mauritania.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

People also read these

Salah's tweet shows dispute with Egypt soccer not...

Aug 28, 2018

Mohamed Salah revives months-long dispute with soccer authorities in native Egypt, accuses them of...

African Cup pushed back 6 days because of Ramadan

Jan 28, 2019

African Cup of Nations in Egypt pushed back by six days to allow Muslim players to rest after...

Farah accused of assault as feud with...

Apr 25, 2019

Runner Mo Farah has been accused of taking part in two separate physical altercations at a hotel in...

Kenya loses hosting rights to African soccer...

Sep 24, 2017

Kenya has been stripped of the right to host the 2018 African Nations Championship

Ghana soccer association fires all coaches

Jan 3, 2020

The Ghana soccer association has fired the coaches of all its national teams in a drastic and...

Sign up now!

Daily Sprinter delivers the cutting-edge content from game reports to viral videos for our audiences worldwide. Our passionate writers strive to deliver a unique approach to the hottest sports news.