Following the footsteps of other continental and global sports bodies, Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Friday postponed this month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers due to the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Rounds three and four of the pool qualifiers were due to be played during the international window from March 25 to 31. But the continental soccer governing body emergency committee has postponed the games until further notice without providing alternative dates.
The 2021 AFCON finals in Cameroon had been moved forward to next January and February to avoid the rainy season, which means the qualifiers will have to be completed this year. This new development could cause a delay to the start of the African qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup slated to begin in October. The Nations Cup qualifiers would have involved 48 countries
Many players would have been travelling from the major European leagues in Italy, France, England, Germany, and Spain, where the coronavirus has disrupted domestic fixtures.
CAF has also postponed qualifiers for the 2020 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for April and this month’s Women’s Under-20 World Cup preliminaries. “We would like to assure you that CAF is monitoring the situation closely and working with the competent authorities such as WHO (World Health Organisation) on the impact of the virus in the continent and CAF competitions,” the body said in a statement.