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Africa Cup of Nations ‘to be cancelled’ amid growing concern over Omicron variant

Organisers of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) are set to call off the January tournament amid worries over the Omicron Covid 19 variant.

Less than a month remains until the first game of the tournament is due to kick off in Cameroon, but reports in the French media on Wednesday suggested the competition could be cancelled amid concerns from national team coaches.

A number of Premier League teams had been due to lose players for the duration of the tournament, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealing talks had been taking place with a view to delaying the release of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.

Now, after a CAF meeting on Wednesday, it’s expected the competition will be postponed indefinitely, as first reported by El Balad’s Ismael Mahmoud in Egypt.

But the African Football Confederation (CAF) moved it to January 2020, before the pandemic forced the confederation into a one-year delay.

Around 40 Premier League players had been expected to join up with their national sides after the Boxing Day fixtures, though some clubs had been making efforts to delay the release.

However top-flight bosses are now set to be handed a reprieve.

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