The January timing is hurting the very actors African football needs for the competition to thrive - the players - which is why it must change.
It has been a typical Asamoah Gyan week. He hit a major landmark, then took the shine off himself with one act.
Khowledge Musona netted a hat-trick as Zimbabwe beat Liberia, while Uganda, Ghana and Benin also claimed 2019 Afcon qualifying wins.
KweséESPN's Colin Udoh highlights five takeaways from Nigeria's 2-0 Afcon qualifying defeat to South Africa.
Kwesi Appiah's first game back in charge of Ghana ended in a perfect 5-0 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying victory against Ethiopia on Sunday.
Guinea stunned Ivory Coast and South Africa ended their Nigerian hoodoo on a day of shocks in the 2019 African Nations Cup qualifiers on Saturday.