The decision to hold the African Cup of Nations (CAN) in January and February has almost always led to tensions between European clubs and African federations. Except in 2019, when the competition was held in Egypt in June and July. But old habits die hard.
As 2021 neared its end, some European coaches, such as Germany’s Jürgen Klopp (Liverpool) and France’s Frédéric Antonetti (FC Metz), made very outspoken statements. The former, visibly anxious about the idea of having to do without Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Senegal’s Sadio Mané, even described the CAN as a “small championship.”