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Amos Adamu lauds CAF over more slots for AFCON

A former CAF Executive Committee member, Amos Adamu, on Sunday said increasing the number of participating teams at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) would be beneficial to more countries in the continent.

Adamu told newsmen in Lagos on Sunday that the increase would give room for more countries to have the experience of what the competition was all about.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) had agreed to a proposal to expand the AFCON from 16 teams to 24 from the 2019 edition in Cameroon.

“It is a very laudable innovation. They (CAF) have given good consideration to other African countries which are just building their national teams.

“By so doing, we will have other African countries being given the opportunity to showcase their players’ talent during this competition.

“Although this decision will increase the number of weeks being used in staging the tournament, but I think the overall effect of it is going to be beneficial at the end of the day,’’ Adamu said.

CAF had also commended the decision to move the Nations Cup from the January to February period to the June to July period.

The decision has been seen as a result of the clash in timing between the tournament and the peak period many league competitions on the international scene.

The change was one of many made by the CAF executive committee at its meeting in Rabat, Morocco last week.

The meeting had followed a two-day symposium organised by CAF to discuss the state of African football.

On the decision to change the date, Adamu who is a former Director-General of the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC) said the change in date was long overdue.

“We have been at this for a very long time. It is better this way, because we understand that the timing clashes with the leagues in Europe, where most of our players ply their trade abroad.

“Now, since the English Premier League which is the major one with our players is usually May to June, we won’t have any more problem as regards the release of players billed to feature in the tournament.

“Even though it may still take its toll on the players, since it is supposed to be the time for them to rest after the league season, but it is the best we can accommodate for now.

“On this, I say `congratulations’ to the executive committee for taking this firm stand.’’

The shift in date is expected to enhance European clubs’ release of their African players for the tournament since their league seasons end around May.

The first expansion of AFCON was from eight to 12 in 1992 on an experimental basis in January then.

The January/February calendar was adopted at the 1996 tournament in South Africa.

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