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Caf postpone Afcon qualifiers

The next round of Afcon qualifiers will take place in March next year. Picture: Daniel Beloumou Olomo AFP

The next round of Afcon qualifiers will take place in March next year. Picture: Daniel Beloumou Olomo AFP

Published Aug 1, 2022

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Durban — Caf have announced that qualification matches for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations have been postponed to next year.

The next edition of the tournament was due to take place in January 2023 in the Ivory Coast, but has been postponed due to weather concerns. It is now set to kickoff in the summer of next year.

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With the 2022 World Cup in Qatar due to begin in November, the initial January dates would proven difficult for African teams playing at the World Cup.

Caf also stated that the change of dates will allow the African teams taking part at the World Cup (Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia) more time to prepare for their campaigns in Qatar.

“This rescheduling was necessitated by the executive committee’s commitment to make room for the African nations that have qualified for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 in November/December 2022 to prepare adequately,” Caf said in a statement.

“Consequently, the September 2022 Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire matchday three and matchday four qualifiers have been moved to 20-28 March 2023.”

Qualification for the next Afcon have started already. Bafana Bafana began their quest to qualify for the showpiece with a 2-1 defeat to Morocco. While Hugo Broos’ team started their qualification campaign on a less-than-ideal note, they don’t need to panic.

They are effectively in a three-team group with Zimbabwe having been suspended from international competition by Fifa. The only other team in the group is Liberia. With Bafana needing a top-two finish in the group, it would be a new all-time low for the South African men’s national team should they fail to qualify for the next Afcon.

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The SA public will hope that Banyana Banyana’s success at the recent 2022 Women’s African Nations Cup can help to inspire Bafana.

Bafana failed to qualify for the most recent edition of Afcon held in Cameroon earlier this year. More embarrassingly, they have failed to qualify for four out of the seven Afcon tournaments that have taken place since 2010.

This also confirms that there is a gulf in class between Bafana and the bigger teams in Africa.

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