Qualifying matches for the Africa Cup of Nations which were scheduled for September have been pushed back to March next year to help the continent’s teams prepare for the World Cup in Qatar, AFP learned Thursday.
The decision to delay the qualifiers was eased when the finals, originally scheduled to be held in June and July next year in Cote d’Ivoire, were postponed to January-February 2024 in a bid to avoid the rainy season.
“The postponement of the Cup of Nations offered an opportunity to reschedule the remaining qualifying matches,” a document addressed to the members of the executive committee of the CAF, which has been seen by AFP, outlined.
“It also makes it possible to open the dates in September to international friendly matches for preparation for the World Cup.”
Senegal, who won the 2022 Cup of Nations in February, Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco and Tunisia have qualified for the World Cup to be staged in Qatar from November 21-December 18.
The third and fourth rounds of qualifying for the 2024 Cup of Nations will take place in March 2023, match days five and six will be held in June with the sixth day set for September.