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CAF sets new dates for AFCON, World Cup qualifiers

The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) has unveiled new dates for the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The qualifiers for the 2021 AFCON competition is set to resume in November, while the 2022 World Cup qualifiers will commence in May, 2021.

It is to be recalled that, CAF postponed upcoming qualifying matches due to be held in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The qualifiers were scheduled to start from March 25 to 31.

According to CAF statements, the 2021 AFCON qualifiers are going to be held between November 2020 and March 2021.

“For Cameroon 2021, the qualifiers will resume on November 9-17, 2020 with day two and four matches, whilst the penultimate and ultimate matches take place on March 22-30, 2021,” the statement reads.

In regards to the African qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which is in its second round, will take place between May 2021 and November 2021.

CAF stated that the 40 teams in contention for the five slots for Qatar 2022 will continue their journey between May 31 and June 15, 2021, with day one and two matches set to take place. From August 30, 2020 to September 7, day three and four matches are expected to take place, with day five and six matches fixed for October 4-12. The play-off matches have been scheduled for November 8-16 2021.

Meanwhile, the African football governing body has pointed out that CAF is monitoring the situation closely and working with relevant authorities with regards to hosting the matches. It said it will make pronouncements accordingly, in the event of developments that will affect matches at designated venues.

Elsewhere, due the restriction across Africa, the qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup Costa Rica/ Panama 2020, scheduled to take place in September 2020, has been postponed. The revised fixtures for the qualifiers will be announced in due course, after consultations with various stakeholders.

According to the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF), the Ethiopian national team, grouped with Madagascar, Ivory Coast and Niger are not ready to play their playoff game, due to COVID-19 restrictions and increasing number of cases in the country.