CAN 2022: everything you need to know about this 33rd edition

HEight years after its designation as host country for the African Cup of Nations, Cameroon is finally preparing to host the tournament on its soil. The Indomitable Lions launch their continental campaign this Sunday at 5 p.m. against Burkina Faso (a match to be followed live on the website of the Point). But before diving into the heart of the competition, take a look at the essentials to know about the 33e edition of the African Cup of Nations.

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Fifty-two meetings in four weeks

From January 9 to February 6, 2022, Cameroon will vibrate to the rhythm of the Africa Cup of Nations. Winners of CAN 2017 in Gabon, the Indomitable Lions open the group A ball this weekend at the Olembé stadium in Yaoundé. During these four weeks of competition, 52 matches will oppose the 24 competing teams, divided into six groups of four selections. The confrontations will therefore take place in six Cameroonian arenas: the Olembé stadium (Yaoundé), the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium (Yaoundé), the Japoma stadium (Douala), the Kouekong stadium (Bafoussam), the Omnisportsstadium (Limbé) and Roumdé Adjia stadium (Garoua).

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The first two of each group will advance directly to the round of 16, accompanied by the four best thirds. Then, after the quarter-finals and semi-finals, the final will be held at the Olembé stadium, in Yaoundé, on February 6. A little earlier the same day, a small final will decide between the two losers of the semi-finals.


Tests, gauges and vaccination pass

Throughout the continental tournament, the twenty-four selections engaged in the 2022 African Cup of Nations will have to comply with a strict health protocol to avoid a surge in contamination on African territory. Players must therefore present a negative test less than 24 hours before each game.

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A protocol which also concerns the supporters, expected in number. Regarding the gauges, the African Football Confederation (CAF) has indicated that the maximum capacity will be 80% for Cameroon matches, while other matches will be capped at 60%. CAF and the Cameroonian government have indicated that supporters will need to be fully vaccinated and will need to present a negative PCR test of less than 48 hours (or a negative antigen test of less than 24 hours) to enter the stadiums. The same goes for “fan zones”, where each ticket sale will be conditional on the presentation of a negative test.


Algeria aim for a double, Senegal and Egypt are in ambush, Cameroon playing at home

Who to succeed Algeria? Sacred during CAN 2019, the Fennecs won the Fifa Arab Cup against Tunisia on December 19 (2-0), and obviously serve as big favorites for the final victory. Especially since the teammates of Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), who will try to win the third African coronation in their history, display an incredible form and remain on a series of 34 games without defeat.

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But as so often in Africa, the picture remains very open. The selections of Senegal and Egypt, the last two teams defeated in the CAN final (Senegal in 2019 against Algeria, Egypt in 2017 against Cameroon) did not come to make up the figure. Led by Sadio Mané, the Teranga Lions have been the best ranked team in Africa for the past three years and are logically part of the main challengers, alongside Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, one of the best players in the world. of the moment (7e at the Golden Ball).

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Outsiders, Ghana and Nigeria are among the best performing countries on the continent and could well come to play spoilers, while Cameroon, in search of their sixth African Cup of Nations title, will have great ambitions in front of his audience. Côte d’Ivoire (host country of the 2023 edition), Morocco and Tunisia are among the other former champions present. Finally, small thumbs of the CAN, the Comoros and The Gambia will sign their first steps on the continental scene.

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Salah, Mané and Mahrez are the headliners

African football is full of talent. And undoubtedly, three of them will be to follow very closely throughout the competition: Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mané (Senegal) and Riyad Mahrez (Algeria). First of all, the Egyptian winger is the author of a very good start to the season at Liverpool, with 23 goals and 9 assists in 26 games in all competitions. His 7e place for the Ballon d’Or 2021 also crowned its formidable year. But if neither the Premier League nor the Champions League have been able to resist him, now “Mo” Salah is often left to himself in the selection. Finalist in 2017, Egypt remains on a traumatic elimination at home in the round of 16 of the last CAN.

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Conversely, Riyad Mahrez had succeeded in bringing his Algerian selection to the title during the previous continental meeting. He intends to do the same this year. Fennec, not always starting with Manchester City, remains on six goals and four assists in 16 games this season.

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Finally, winner of the Champions League and the Premier League, African footballer of the year in 2019, still holder in Liverpool despite a slight decline in recent times, Sadio Mané has only one dream: to guide Senegal towards the first coronation in its history at CAN.

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In addition to these three stars of African football, many other players should mark the continental tournament with their paws: Islam Slimani (Algeria / Lyon), Ismaël Bennacer (Algeria / AC Milan), Bertrand Traoré (Burkina Faso / Aston Villa), Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Cameroon / Bayern Munich), Karl Toko-Ekambi (Cameroon / Lyon), André-Frank Zambo-Anguissa (Cameroon / Naples), Sébastien Haller (Côte d’Ivoire / Ajax Amsterdam), Franck Kessié (Côte d’Ivoire / AC Milan), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon / Arsenal), Kamaldeen Sulemana (Ghana / Rennes), Thomas Partey (Ghana / Arsenal), Naby Keïta (Guinea / Liverpool), Mohamed Camara (Mali / Red Bull Salzburg ), Achraf Hakimi (Morocco / PSG), Édouard Mendy (Senegal / Chelsea), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal / Naples), Hannibal Mejbri (Tunisia / Manchester United), Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia / Saint-Étienne) or even Tino Kadewere (Zimbabwe / Lyon).

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Mola, the fearless young lion

After Chuku Chuku (Equatorial Guinea 2015), Samba (Gabon 2017) or Tut (Egypt 2019), make way for Mola! The mascot of CAN 2022 is embodied by a young lion displaying the colors of the national flag of the Indomitable Lions (green, red, yellow). It is the work of Félix Fonkoua and refers to fraternity in Cameroonian slang. The ball used is the Toghu of the English supplier Umbro, named after a multicolored and finely embroidered outfit, initially designed for royalty, but now popular throughout Cameroon. Finally, concerning the official anthem, the proposal of the “Africa Smile” collective was retained. The anthem, which will be performed in French and English, evokes the continent’s love of football.


The entire CAN 2021 will be watched live and exclusively on beIN Sports with all the channels of the group that will be mobilized. The matches will be broadcast from 2, 5 and 8 p.m. during this competition. Direct will be provided by the Point Afrique site.

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