Football

Everton facing Alex Iwobi blow after AFCON decision

Everton could be without Alex Iwobi for a portion of next season with the change of dates for the Africa Cup of Nations now confirmed.

AFCON 2021 was pencilled in for the summer in Cameroon, but the country’s climate during June and July has forced the CAF into a re-think.

The times have now changed from summer to winter and January 2021 is the expected start date for the African competition.

CAF president Ahmad Ahmad said earlier this week that the dates could be revised for the tournament, which would mean disruption for many European-based African internationals.

That could include Nigeria’s Iwobi and Gbamin of Ivory Coast, potentially leaving Carlo Ancelotti short of a couple of members of his squad for around a month of the 2020/21 campaign.

Ahmad is reported to have told Inside World Football: “When we took the decision to move the Africa Cup of Nations to June, which we did for the last tournament in Egypt, we have always said that we need to have some flexibility over the dates.

“This is because of the different climatic conditions in the continent. In my view, it is not possible, because of the climatic conditions in Cameroon, to stage the Africa Cup of Nations in June/July.

“This is clear, so we must take a decision on the date.”

The previous dates were between June 11 to July 9, which would have caused potential issues for Everton’s pre-season plans for Iwobi.

However, they are likely to have been more favourable to Ancelotti and his backroom staff than the switch to January and February, which could now hit the Blues hard midway through their Premier League campaign next term.

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