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18.01.2020 Football News

Africa's World Cup And Nations Cup Qualifying Dates Changed

By BBC
Africa's World Cup And Nations Cup Qualifying Dates Changed
LISTEN JAN 18, 2020

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has rearranged the continent's qualifying campaigns for the 2022 World Cup and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The move follows Wednesday's decision to move the 2021 Nations Cup in Cameroon from June-July to January-February.

Nations Cup qualifiers had been due to begin in August but will now start in March.

Qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup have been postponed to October to accommodate the change.

Two rounds of Nations Cup qualifiers will be staged in March, with one round in June prior to the final qualifying period from 31 August-8 September.

Once the 24 teams for next year's Nations Cup has been determined, World Cup qualifying will get underway in October - with another round following the next month.

One coach who is unhappy with this latest move is The Gambia boss Tom Saintfiet.

It was totally not needed to make these changes because after the qualification (ends) in September the same teams will still have to play in World Cup qualification, well apart from us, so in my eyes its an unnecessary move," he explained to BBC Sport.

"It's an unnecessary move as it creates a lot of problems for us who are already planning friendlies and have had agreements with (match) agents.

"We had already planned to try out some players in March and June (in non-competitive matches) as I want to build a team and now that's not going to be possible before the Gabon game (a 2021 Nations Cup qualifier)."

The draw for the group stage of the 2022 World Cup qualifying is set to take place on 21 January.

On Wednesday it was decided that the Nations Cup will begin on 9 January due to the adverse weather conditions in Cameroon in June and July, when there is likely to be more humidity and rainfall.

The change back to a January start for the Nations Cup means that the tournament will not clash the expanded Club World Cup, being held in China in June 2021.

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