The Total 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, generally known as AFCON, will kick off on 21 June, with the final match being played on 19 July 2019, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017, when the call was made to move the Africa Cup of Nations from the January/February time slot to June/July for the first time. This is also the first expanded Africa Cup of Nations – 24 teams are participating, an increase from the usual 16.
The 24 teams participating in the Africa Cup of Nations, and the groups they are playing in, are as follows:
Group A: Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Group B: Burundi, Guinea, Madagascar, Nigeria
Group C: Algeria, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania
Group D: Ivory Coast, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa
Group E: Angola, Mauritania, Tunisia, Mali
Group F: Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau
AFCON 2019 cities and stadia
The AFCON tournament is awarded to a host country but decentralised to cities within the host country by organising committees. These cities get an infrastructure boost and the local economy benefits from the influx of people who come to patronise the tournament.
Egypt’s capital, Cairo, is the main centre because the host team is based there. The city will also host three groups: A, C and D. The other three cities involved are Alexandria, hosting Group B; Suez, hosting Group E; and Ismailia, hosting Group F.
Cooling breaks due to soaring heat
The Confederation of African Football (CAF), announced that it will apply a FIFA rule that allows for two cooling / water breaks during games due to the high temperatures that are prevalent across the host nation. CAF said two three-minute breaks on the half-hour mark and on the 75th-minute mark will be observed during fixtures.
A media advisory titled “Medical Report on Temperature during AFCON” read in part: “The average (dry) temperature in June / July is expected to be around 35°C, with the average humidity of 40% to 60%.
“This will give a high WetBulb Globe (WBGT) temperature of above 32°C. It is certain that most teams will be aware of this and train accordingly,” the advisory added.
The WetBulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) is a way of estimating the heat stress that the combination of temperature, humidity, wind speed and visible and infrared radiation (usually sunlight) will place on humans.