The opening ceremony of the 33rd edition of the Afcon is only hours away, but newly introduced rules will set it apart from previous editions
The Confederation of African Football, CAF, has announced a new rule change regarding the number of substitutions for each team in the games to be played at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
For the first time in the competition history, CAF has decided to permit teams to make a maximum of five substitutions per match – a significant shift from the three substitution rule.
But teams will enjoy only three opportunities to make their five changes to reduce disruptions during the games.
However, substitutions made during halftime do not take away from a team’s three opportunities.
Whenever a match extends into extra time, each team will be afforded an additional substitution and one more substitution opportunity.
CAF has also decided on the COVID-19 protocol for the 2021 Afcon.
According to the continent’s football governing body, a team will be ‘required to play a match if they have a minimum of eleven (11) players available who have tested negative for the dreaded coronavirus.
Any team that cannot muster enough players to honour a game will be considered to have lost the match 0-2.
Fortunately, Nigeria’s Super Eagles have not recorded any case of coronavirus infection to any player or official as they prepare for their opening match against Egypt on Tuesday.
There are presently 26 players in the team’s Garoua camp, following the arrival of Venezia fullback Tyronne Ebuehi on Saturday.
Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa revealed earlier that they are still expecting the arrival of Germany-based defender Jamilu Collins.
2019 Afcon top goalscorer Odion Ighalo, who featured for Al-Shabab in their 1-1 draw at home to Abha on Saturday in a Saudi Arabia league clash, remains a major doubt for Afcon 2021.
The tournament, scheduled to run until February 6, kicks off today, January 9, with the opening match between hosts Cameroon and West African neighbours Burkina Faso.