Africa Cup of Nations to return to January/February

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Timo Shihepo

Windhoek - Africa’s largest continental tournament, the African Cup of Nations, will return to its original January-February slot starting with the 2021 edition.

The 24-nation competition was originally planned to begin in June just like the 2019 African Cup of Nations, hosted by Egypt, which was the first edition to be hosted during that period.  

The changes were confirmed this week by the Cameroonian Football Association, which is set to host next year’s edition. The Confederation of African Football (Caf) is yet to make a statement regarding the change but the adjustment is attributed to the congestion of tournaments that take place between June and July.

The UEFA European Football Championship and Copa America in South America are all played during that slot.  The new revamped FIFA club World Cup is also now set to take place in June starting in 2021.

The change will anger European clubs as they will lose their star players in the middle of the season.

Meanwhile, Colleta Dewa reports from Johannesburg, South Africa, that  Banyana Banyana captain Janine Van Wyk has announced that she has terminated her contract with Danish club Fortuna Hjorring.

The 32-year-old international player joined the Danish side in August 2019 after ending her two-year stint with Houston Dash in November 2018, becoming the first South African woman to play football in Denmark.

However, Van Wyk failed to gain an opportunity to play for Fortuna as she struggled to recover from a knee injury suffered during South Africa's Cosafa Women's Cup triumph in the same month.

 The South African star took to social media earlier this week to call time on her brief spell at Fortuna as she thanked the club for their tremendous support during her short stay in Denmark.

"Many of you know that I have recently signed for a club in Denmark and many of you know that I also sustained a knee injury at the Cosafa Cup in August 2019, due to the fact that I have yet to fully recover from the injury, the club Fortuna Hjorring and I have come to an agreement to terminate my contract.

"I am truly grateful for the opportunity Fortuna offered me and for giving me their continuous support and patience during my rehabilitation. I have made a decision to return to South Africa to fully focus on the process of the rehab where I will get the best possible treatment in order for me to get back to playing football again.

She added that leaving the club was not an easy decision to make but circumstances led her to quit.

“Sometimes decisions aren't easy to make, especially when you at the stage of your career when you question whether or not it's the right decision to make, but it makes it easier when you accept the decision and are ready to face any consequences that come with it.

“ I would like to thank Fortuna Hjorring for their tremendous support and guidance throughout this short journey at the club. It's heartwarming to know that there are still clubs out there that take a high interest in the players' happiness and wellbeing. Wishing you all the best for the rest of the season,” she added.

Van Wyk, who is the most-capped footballer in South Africa - male or female and the most-capped African woman, will return to South Africa where she will be continuing her rehabilitation.

 

 

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