Chagos Islands face ‘Group of Death’ at World Football Cup in Skopje

By David Owen

January 27 – Holders Kárpátalja face a typically eclectic group as they bid to win a second consecutive World Football Cup later this year in the North Macedonian capital of Skopje.

The east Europeans, also known as Carpathian Ruthenia and regarded by some as the shortest-lived state in history, will play Western Armenia, Tamil Eelam and one of the African representatives Kabylia in Group B of the 16-team competition which is scheduled to kick off in May.

The draw, which took place at the weekend during the annual general meeting of the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) in St Helier also saw Jersey bracketed with Panjab, Kurdistan and the Chagos Islands in a tough looking Group A.

South America’s Mapuche will play Matabeleland, Kernow (or Cornwall) and Australian First Nations in Group C.

Group D pits European Football Cup holders South Ossetia against North American representatives Cascadia, United Koreans of Japan and Darfur.

CONIFA describes itself as the football federation for all associations outside FIFA. The 2020 event will be the fourth staging of the World Football Cup. The third edition in 2018 was held in and around London.

Reacting to the draw, Jimmy Ferrar, manager of the Chagos Islands, a British overseas territory in the Indian Ocean whose population was evicted to make way for a military base, said: “All four groups have tough teams in them, but ours is perhaps the toughest of them all. The boys are already calling it our Group of Death.”

The competition is scheduled to take place between May 30 and June 7. Kárpátalja lifted the trophy in 2018 by beating Northern Cyprus on penalties in the final.

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