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Start of African Cup of Nations brought forward to January 3

The start of the African Cup of Nations has been brought forward to January 3 due to Al-Ahly’s participation in the FIFA Club World Cup.

The original dates for the tournament were set between January 9 and February 6, but it appears the fixtures have been moved.

According to Egyptian journalist Omar Rabbie Yassin, there has been a rescheduling due to Al-Ahly’s Club World Cup campaign.

Al-Ahly are set to face Monterrey in the second round on February 6, the same day when the AFCON final was initially due to be played.

With several Egyptian players featuring for Al-Ahly, the preponement seems justifiable to avoid a potential scheduling clash.

The tournament will now conclude five days ahead on February 1.

The news will come as a boost for the reigning African champions but could impact the plans of clubs across Europe.

Liverpool could be hampered with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita missing the crucial game against Chelsea on January 2.

Arsenal are set to miss the services of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe and Mohamed Elneny.

The Gunners have a difficult New Year’s Day Premier League clash against Manchester City away from home.

It was recently claimed that Cameroon may not be prepared to host AFCON next month due to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Qatar were suggested as a host country. This has been dismissed by CAF, who have affirmed that the tournament will be played in the West African nation.

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