AFCON 2025: What new dates mean for the PSL

The continental tournament will be held later next year and spill into 2026

South Africa will be one of the big winners of the new dates for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations as the tournament will take place at a time when the league takes a break.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee, which had a meeting on Friday, has settled on between December 21, 2025 and January 18, 2026 for the tournament set to be held in the north African country.

While the dates will interrupt a number of leagues on the continent, the PSL would experience minimal disruptions unlike the delayed 2023 tournament that was held from January to February this year.

The PSL took a break from December 23, 2023 until February 16, 2024 due to AFCON 2023 although the extension was largely down to Bafana Bafana's impressive run that ended with a third-place finish.

PSL experienced something similar in 2022 ahead of Qatar World Cup

It was a major interruption to the PSL calendar as matches had to be rescheduled but the proposed dates for the 2025 tournament are a relief somewhat.

However, if South Africa qualify and go on an extended run again, then the league would have to take an early break and extend it to allow the national team ample time to prepare.

The PSL experienced something similar in 2022 ahead of the World Cup in Qatar that took place between November 21 and December 18 with the league taking a break from November 6, 2022 to January 7, 2023.

AFCON’s January to February dates are a nightmare for the PSL

South Africa’s top flight has run from August to May since the 1996-97 season which has put it at odds with the AFCON tournament that was held between January and February until 2019 when it was held in June and July in Egypt, only to return to the previous dates in the last two editions.

The tournament dates have proved to be a nightmare to CAF owing to various events next summer, necessitating the delay after it was initially set to take place in June 2025.

With the expanded 32-team Club World Cup, which will be held in the United States from June 15-July 13, four African teams, including Mamelodi Sundowns, will take part which means it would be impossible to host the AFCON at around the same time.

The changes are a blow to Morocco’s tourist industry and its desire to prove its ability to stage a major tournament ahead of the 2030 World Cup which the country will co-host with Portugal and Spain.

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Joel Oliver

Joel Oliver is a seasoned multimedia sports journalist with a rich background in covering diverse football stories and events in South Africa and beyond.

His extensive coverage spans subjects touching on the PSL, with a focus on the Big Three (Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs & Mamelodi Sundowns), Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana.