The 2019 Total AFCON will be held in Egypt from the 21st of June till July 18 and will be 32nd edition of the competition. Originally it was scheduled for Cameroon but was awarded to the North Africans after the Central African nation couldn’t meet up with the preparations.
Unlike the previous editions of the competition, the 2019 edition will be unique not only because it will feature 24 teams for the first time but also because it will involve the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for the first time.
However, despite the increase in the number of participating countries, there will only be six stadia in four cities to host the games across Egypt and we take a look at how they look like and which big matches will be holding there.
Cairo International Stadium
Owners: Egyptian FA
Home To: Zamalek, Al Ahly and Egypt National team
The Cairo stadium, one of Egypt’s most symbolic stadiums will be host to Africa cup of nations games once again after it hosted during the 2006 AFCON held in the country.
Previously the stadium could hold up to 120,000 spectators before it was decreased to 75,000 to meet CAF standards. The stadium will host 5 Group A games including the curtain raiser between Zimbabwe and Egypt on June 21st as well as the final game of the competition
With Egypt playing all their Group A games in the Stadium, four knockout matches as well as the final, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to book an hotel near the stadium in order to grab and not miss the biggest matches the competition will offer.
30 June Stadium
Owners: Egyptian Air Defense Force
Home to: Pyramids Sc
The stadium opened in 2012, will host Group C games, Five out of six group C matches and as well group A’s final game between Zimbabwe and DR Congo.
The stadium was involved in a crowd stampede in 2012 in an Egyptian league game will also be the venue of three knock out games.
Group C game between Senegal and Algeria on the 27th of June is one big game to watch out for.
Al Salam Stadium
Owners: Egyptian Military
Home To: El Entang El Harby, Al Ahly
Group D which include Morocco, Namibia, Ivory Coast and South Africa, considered as the competition’s group of Death will have most of it’s games played in the Al Salam Stadium which is owned by the Egyptian Military.
The stadium is one of the six which hosted the FIFA under 20 world cup ten years ago will also host matches from Group B; Burundi v Guinea and group C match between Algeria and Tanzania, one Quarter final clash and the third place play off.
This is a venue with potentially exciting games, with matches involving Ivory coast and Morocco
Mubarak International Stadium
Home to: Petrojet
The stadium hosted some of the matches at the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2009 and will be one of the venues of the 2019 AFCON. Angola, Mauritania, Mali and Tunisia will have their group games at the venue.
Also, two knockout stage matches; a quarter finals and a round of 16 match will be played in the Stadium also known as the SUEZ stadium.
Owners: Alexandria Government
Home To: Al Ittihad, Smouha
Here is the venue which concerns majority of Nigerian football fans as the Super Eagles alongside their group B opponents will slug it out on the natural grass turf of the Alexandria Stadium.
The stadium was also a host to the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations games and was opened in 1929 becoming Africa’s first and oldest stadium. Two knockout stage matches will also hold there
Home To: Ismaily SC
Ismaily’s traditional home is not a stranger to international competition having hosted FIFA U20 World Cup matches as well as CAF Confederations and Champions league matches.
The stadium will host five Group F matches including Cameroon’s second group game clash with Ghana on the 29th of June as well as one group E game
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
READ ALSO: Mosengo-Omba Is CAF New General Secretary
The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.