2021 Africa Cup of Nations

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (also referred to as AFCON 2021 or CAN 2021) is scheduled to be the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the biennial international men's football championship of Africa organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The tournament is scheduled to be hosted by Cameroon.[1] The competition will be held in June 2021.

2021 Africa Cup of Nations
Coupe d'Afrique des Nations 2021
Tournament details
Host countryCameroon
Dates11 June – 9 July
Teams24 (expected) (from 1 confederation)
Venue(s)6 (in 5 host cities)

Algeria are the defending champions after winning 2019 edition in Egypt.

Host selection

After the CAF Executive Committee meeting on 24 January 2014, it was announced that there were three official candidates for the 2021 edition:[2]


  • Algeria
  • Guinea
  • Ivory Coast

Rejected Bids:

  • DR Congo
  • Gabon
  • Zambia

This list was different from the list of the host nation bids for both the 2019 and 2021 edition of the Cup of Nations as announced by CAF in November 2013, with Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon and Zambia also on the original list.[3] All three official candidates also bid for hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

The decision of the host country was postponed from early 2014 to grant each bidding country adequate time to receive the inspection delegation.[2] After the final vote at the CAF Executive Committee meeting, on 20 September 2014, the CAF announced the hosts for the 2019, 2021 and 2023 AFCON tournaments: 2019 to Cameroon, 2021 to Ivory Coast, and 2023 to Guinea.[4]

Host change

On 30 November 2018, CAF stripped Cameroon from hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.[5] However, CAF President Ahmad Ahmad told Cameroon accepted to host the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. Consequently, Ivory Coast, original hosts of 2021, would host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, and Guinea, original hosts of 2023, would host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations.[6][7]

On 30 January 2019, CAF President confirmed the timetable shift, after a meeting with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.[8]


Qualified teams

The following teams qualified for the tournament.

Team Method of
Date of
Previous best
FIFA ranking
at start of event
 CameroonHosts8 January 201920th2019Winners (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002, 2017)


Assuming that the current format is maintained, a total of 24 teams will compete in the final tournament. Only the hosts will receive an automatic qualification spot, the other 23 teams will qualify through a qualification tournament. At the finals, the 24 teams will be drawn into six groups of four teams each. The teams in each group play a single round robin. After the group stage, the top two teams from each group and the best third teams will advance to the round of 16. The winners will advance to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals. The semifinal losers will play in third place match, while semifinal winners will play in final.


With the Africa Cup of Nations expanded from 16 to 24 teams, at least six venues are expected to be used and in this way matches will take place in six venues across the five Cameroonian cities of Yaounde, Douala, Garoua, Limbe and Bafoussam.[9] The six stadiums selected to host matches are the Paul Biya Stadium and the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in the capital Yaounde, the Japoma Stadium in Douala, the Limbe Stadium in Limbe, the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam and the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.[10] The opening ceremony as well as the opening match of the tournament and the final are set to take place at the newly built 60 000 seater Paul Biya Stadium in Yaounde.[11] These six venues are also the same that would have been used for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations had Cameroon not been stripped to host the tournament.

Douala Yaounde
Japoma Stadium Paul Biya Stadium Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo
Capacity: 50,000 Capacity: 60,000 Capacity: 42,500
Garoua Bafoussam Limbe
Roumdé Adjia Stadium Kouekong Stadium Limbe Stadium
Capacity: 30,000 Capacity: 20,000 Capacity: 20,000


  1. "Cameroon to host 2019, Cote d'Ivoire for 2021, Guinea 2023". Confédération Africaine de Football. 20 September 2014.
  2. "Decisions made by the CAF Executive Committee, convened January 24th 2014" (PDF). Cafonline.com. 26 January 2014.
  3. "Six nations submit bids for 2019 & 2021 Africa Cup of Nations". Goal.com. 27 November 2013.
  4. "Nations Cup: 2019, 2012 and shock 2023 hosts unveiled by Caf". BBC Sport. 20 September 2014.
  5. "Cameroon stripped of hosting 2019 Africa Cup of Nations". BBC. 30 November 2018.
  6. "CAN 2019 : le pays hôte sera connu le 9 janvier" (in French). Le Monde. 10 December 2018.
  7. Etchells, Daniel (8 January 2019). "Egypt named as hosts of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations". www.insidethegames.biz.
  9. Bongben, Leocadia (19 July 2017). "Cameroon government moves to ease 2019 AFCON fears". BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  10. "The Six stadiums To Host Afcon 2021 Cameroon". camer237.com. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  11. Okeleji, Oluwashina (3 December 2018). "Football: Ready or not, here we come". The Africa Report.com.
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