Bafana Bafana set to face temperatures exceeding 40 degrees in Egypt

Former club teammates Percy Tau (R) and Themba Zwane (L) will be key attackers for South Africa at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.
Former club teammates Percy Tau (R) and Themba Zwane (L) will be key attackers for South Africa at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.
Image: Bafana Bafana/Twitter

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) will test the fitness of the players with the Confederation of African Football (Caf) suggesting the average temperature for this time of year is between 35 degrees and 38 degrees Celsius.

But it will get much higher‚ with a cursory glance at the weather forecast for the next seven days in Cairo showing that three are set to exceed 40 degrees‚ and three more between 38 and 40 degrees.

Add to that humidity between 40 and 60 percent and it is going to be highly uncomfortable for the players throughout the tournament‚ and perhaps surprising that Caf were so eager to send the competition to Egypt in these conditions.

Caf have issued a media advisory saying it has been recommended that there be three minute rest breaks during matches between the 30th and 75th minutes‚ and that wet towels and ice buckets be on hand for teams.

They have also stated that provision must be made to treat heat-related illnesses on site‚ in anticipation that players‚ or even officials‚ could suffer exhaustion.

Bafana’s opening match against Ivory Coast on Monday has a kick-off time of 16h30‚ with an anticipated temperature of 37 degrees at that time of day with 57 percent humidity.

Their second game on June 28 against Namibia will kick-off at 22h00‚ providing some relief‚ while their third against Morocco on June 1 is at 18h00.

Similar temperatures and humidity are expected for both matches‚ though the later kick-off will see the dial drop to a mere 31 degrees.

It will be energy-sapping for the players and by the time the final is played on July 19‚ it could be the fittest‚ and not necessarily the best‚ teams that contest the decider.

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