CIV coach Ibrahim Kamara, who is not against the progress, believes it would make the competition more difficult for all stakeholders. New changes will emerge at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt following the expansion of participants from the original 16 teams and to 24.
Secondly, it will be held in the middle of the year June / July as opposed to the previous calendar of January / February.
Many observers have welcomed the development due to the opportunity it offers to new teams to take part in the tournament.
“Firstly, governments of qualified teams would have to increase budget for their representatives because more matches would be played and more time would be spent at the finals,” he told ACLSports, a day after his team wrapped up the 2019 AFCON qualifiers with a 3-0 win over Rwanda in Abidjan.
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“Secondly, coaches would no longer prepare their teams for a 16-team tourney but 24, which is very different. The vision would now be broader like we are going to a World Cup. No more local mindset. Coaches have to take note of that.
“Thirdly, the way players will handle the games will now be different. You have a lot of matches to play or let’s say lots of potential matches. You must manage energy, stamina, injury risks, and strategy in order to be able to get far,” he said.
However, as opposed to the previous calendar of January / February when foreign-based players had to abandon their clubs in session, the current calendar falls in the European off-season, which is the major good news for the upcoming AFCON, according to Kamara.
“We have worked with players in the past who were too careful not to sustain injuries during AFCON to avoid losing their spot when they return to their clubs.
“It’s likely going to be different this time around due to the off-season abroad, mostly in Europe. We are hoping to see more commitment and sacrifices from players and that is the most positive news ahead of the finals,” he said.
The Elephants won the 2015 AFCON held in Equatorial Guinea – their second title.