Three-minute heat breaks at Afcon 2019

Matches at the month-long 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final in Egypt will feature three-minute breaks in each half due to extreme heat, the medical committee of the competition has announced.

The 32nd edition of the continent’s flagship football tournament kicks off Friday June 21 and will run through to July 19.

And players have been cautioned of possibility of playing in extreme temperatures, hence the introduction of two cooling breaks – in the 30th and 75th minutes of every game.

A statement from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) reveals the average temperature over the next month is expected to be between 35-38 degrees Celsius with an average humidity of 40-60%.

“This would give a high wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) index reading above 32 degrees,” it said.

The WBGT is the environmental measure that incorporates temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover.

Ghana and a couple of other countries are a few who anticipated the weather conditions and opted to set up their pre-tournament training camp in the Gulf Region.

The Black Stars moved to the United Arab Emirates for their preparations and weather adaptation on June 1. The team played two friendlies – against Namibia and South Africa.

“It is certain that most teams will be aware of this and will train accordingly,” Caf stated.

“At this level, FIFA recommends three minute rest-and-refreshing breaks in the 30th and 75th minutes.

“These breaks must require the provision of cold containers on wheels to put crushed ice, drinks for referees and small towels cold and wet to place around the neck for 26 people (four referees and 22 players).”

“It will also be necessary to prepare for any eventuality of emergencies. It will be important to be able to diagnose and treat heat-related illnesses, if they occur on site,” the statement added.

Some matches at the tournament kick off at 1630 local time (1430 GMT), others at 1900 (1700 GMT) and 2200 (2000GMT) and then later, at the end of the group phase, at 1800 and 2100.

The timing of the Cup of Nations, for the first time, changed from January every two years to mid-year. However, heat has always been an issue at finals held in northern Africa.

Egypt were chosen over South Africa to host the 2019 Afcon when Cameroon were stripped of the right to host the event late last year.





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