The Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Thursday passed a resolution to increase the number of participating teams in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) from 16 to 24.
The change will take effect from 2019 when Cameroon hosts it. The, tournament which has traditionally been held in January and February, will also be staged in June and July, CAF said.
The 55 members of the committee met in Rabat, Morocco, earlier this week to discuss the growth of African football and the possibility of expanding the tournament as well as changing the timing and scheduling of the showpiece competition.
CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad hinted that some of the discussion at the symposium could be implemented within days and this is the first of many major changes expected to take place in the continent’s football.
This development would mean that the qualifying rounds for AFCON will be adjusted to accommodate all 24 teams, with the main tournament structure also taking a different shape.
The decision to increase the slots, which had received mixed reactions from the football fraternity, is said to be aimed at crafting new and innovative ways of making the competition more attractive.
Meanwhile, Cameroon risks losing out in hosting the tournament as it is still behind in its preparations. Some have suggested that the tournament will be moved to Morocco if the West African nation is unable to meet the deadline to complete its preparations.