Johannesburg to host 2025 Afcon qualifying draw

FILE - The Africa Cup of Nations trophy on display. Photo: Issouf Sanogo/AFP

FILE - The Africa Cup of Nations trophy on display. Photo: Issouf Sanogo/AFP

Published Jun 13, 2024


Johannesburg will host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying draw on July 4, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday.

Title-holders the Ivory Coast and tournament hosts Morocco are among 48 countries to be divided into 12 groups of four with the winners and runners-up in 11 advancing to the 24-team finals.

Morocco are guaranteed a finals place as hosts, but will take part to gain competitive match practice. This means just one of other teams in their mini-league will qualify.

Double qualifying matchdays are scheduled for September 2-10, October 7-15 and November 11-19 this year.

The nations ranked one to 44 qualified automatically for the draw and Chad, Eswatini, Liberia and South Sudan won play-offs.

Originally scheduled for June-July 2025, the Cup of Nations is expected to be played later as the dates clash with the inaugural Club World Cup in the United States.

"Discussions (regarding dates) are well advanced with the stakeholders," CAF secretary general Veron Mosengo-Omba has told AFP, adding that a decision would be announced "soon".

Shifting the tournament to the beginning of 2026 "is in the air, but there is nothing official", said a CAF source.

While other continental championships are held every four years, the Cup of Nations is a two-yearly event as it provides most of the CAF income through TV rights and advertising.

Plans to stage it in mid year to avoid a clash with the European club season began in 2019 when Egypt played hosts in searing heat.

Fears that torrential seasonal rain could disrupt subsequent editions in Cameroon and the Ivory Coast led to January-February tournaments.

Stars like prolific Liverpool scorer Mohamed Salah had to leave European clubs in mid season, and a hamstring injury during the group phase of the 2024 tournament lengthened his absence.