By Joseph Mchekadona
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is tomorrow expected to review the timing of the African Nations Cup (AFCON) at the symposium to be held in Rabbat , Morocco.
Timing of AFCON has been controversial as many feel it hinders some top players who plies their trade oversees to compete at the continent top football event.
CAF host the tournament every two years in January this means some leading players, drawn increasingly from clubs in major European leagues, face a difficult tug of war for their services, caught between duty for their national team and the clubs that employ them
The two day symposium will include stakeholders from across the sport, including an array of former stars like Abedi Pele, Austin Okocha and Samuel Eto’o,
The symposium will also look at the annual African club competitions, which this year had the number of clubs involved in the group stages doubled to 16.
Each African country has been invited to send its football association president, general secretary and national coach.
Tanzania Football Federation (TFF)information officer Alfred Lucas said they expect the symposium to come up with ways which will improve AFCON and also make it more attractive to players , stakeholders and football lovers.
" Its a very good symposium, we hope they will come up with solutions to AFCON and other tournaments organized by CAF"he said.
The New Confederation of African Football president Ahmad Ahmad promised a blanket review when he successfully challenged long-standing leader Issa Hayatou for the top job in African football in March.
Ahmad, also wants to review rules on hosting the finals, which are proving increasingly prohibitive and reducing the number of potential candidates.
He has already suggested co-hosting which would allow CAF to consider proposals to increase the size of teams at the finals to 24 – almost half the organisation’s membership.
The frequency of the tournament would also be reviewed although there seems little appetite to change it from every two years to every four years.
Ahead of this year’s tournament in Gabon there were an unprecedented number of players who turned down call-ups to stay with their clubs. Those numbers are expected to rise if the next finals in Cameroon are hosted in January 2019 rather than a more convenient mid-year slot.
Former CAF president Issa Hayatou had persistently refused to entertain any change because he did not want to be seen to be buckling to pressure from European clubs. He blamed inclement weather patterns in Africa for not holding the Nations Cup in mid-year, but this argument was forgotten when only African countries bid to host the 2010 World Cup.