CAF shifts Afcon qualifiers to give Qatar 2022 teams more time for World Cup prep

August 1 – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has agreed to delay upcoming qualifying matches for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in order to help African teams prepare for the upcoming World Cup.

The next round of AFCON qualifiers in September have been pushed back to next March to permit the continent’s five World Cup-bound teams the opportunity to get ready for Qatar.

The postponement had been muted for weeks, especially after the date for the next AFCON finals in the Ivory Coast was put back from June next year to January 2024.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse was among the more vocal critics of the September fixtures, which meant his country would have had to play two Cup of Nations qualifiers, home and away against Mozambique, in the final window of opportunity in September when they preferred to prepare for World Cup. Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco and Tunisia are the other World Cup nations.

The AFCON qualifiers, which started with two rounds of matches in June, still have four to go.

CAF said matchday three and matchday four qualifiers have now been moved to March 20-28 next year, the fifth round to June 12-20, 2023 while match day six will be played in September next year.

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