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Algeria midfielder Adlène Guediora says 2021 Africa Cup of Nations should be postponed or cancelled

Published on: 30 April 2020

Algeria midfielder Adlène Guedioura says the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations should be postponed or even cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

Guedioura played an integral role for Algeria when they won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Next year's tournament was initially scheduled to take place in June and July.

The dates were switched earlier this year to January and February because of the "unfavourable" weather conditions in host country Cameroon at that time of the year.

With four more games to conclude the qualifications, the qualifying matches have postponed until further notice because of the global pandemic coronavirus.

The resumption of the qualifications is unknown at the moment making the January/February tournament in limbo.

"I know that Africa Cup of Nations is important and it's good for the countries to organise it but this one in 2021 I think it should be cancelled or postponed," Guedioura told BBC World Service.

"First they said it was in summer, then in winter, now we have the coronavirus which makes it more difficult to complete the qualification games.

"I think they should decide maybe to have it later. That would help many of the nations and many of the players also who represent Africa in the World."

Guedioura, 34, also thinks the majority of Europe-based footballers were against playing the tournament mid-season, even before the coronavirus pandemic.

A huge number of Europe-based players will have to leave their clubs for the tournament in Cameroon in the middle of a supposedly congested season due to the current suspension of football Worldwide.

"It's much better to do it in the European summer anyway. I think the best Cup of Nations was the last one in the summer and it's not just because we won it.

"With a Cup of Nations in January it's in the middle of the season, you come back straight away to play for your club and you can get injured or you can lose your place in the team.

"If you're not Salah or Mahrez or Mane, if you're a player who always has to fight for his place [at his club], the manager can decide to pick other players which isn't good.

"I remember most of the Algeria players told our manager Djamel Belmadi we'd prefer it in the summer."

Guedioura added that a postponement or cancellation of next year's would not surprise him looking at devastating effects the coronavirus has had on football so far.

"This coronavirus you have to think about safety of people and football comes very last, unfortunately. To organise the qualifying games is going to be very difficult."

"I wouldn't be surprised if the tournament is postponed or cancelled to be honest. It's something they need to discuss. To organise this Cup of Nations will be very tough."

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