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.