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CAF postpones 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

FOOTBALL By Washington Onyango | May 6th 2021
[Photo: Courtesy]

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Thursday announced that the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers, set to take place in June, has been postponed.

The qualifiers are now scheduled to take place in September, October and November 2021 and March 2022.

FIFA and CAF said the current disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to ensure optimal playing conditions for all teams led them to make the move.

In a statement, CAF said it is reassessing its protocols and processes to enhance the implementation of COVID-related protocols, including specifically focusing on pre-match testing which had been the source of some challenges in previous windows.

“The CAF Emergency Committee, in consultation with FIFA, decided to postpone the CAF qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ that were due to be played in June 2021 after taking into consideration the current challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to ensure the optimal playing conditions for all participating teams,” said CAF.

Harambee Stars standing From left: Mike Kibwage, Eric Kapaito, Harun Mwale, Michael Mutinda, Johnstone Omurwa, Kenneth Muguna, Front From left: Lawrence Juma, James Mazembe, James Saruni, Daniel Sakari and Kevin Kimani before playing Taifa Stars of Tanzania during a friendly match at Nyayo National stadium on Monday, March 15, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, The Standard]

World football governing body, FIFA, also announced the news in a statement on their website which read:

'FIFA can confirm that in conjunction with CAF and taking into consideration the current disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to ensure optimal playing conditions for all teams, it has been decided to postpone the African qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™? that were due to be played in June 2021.

Harambee Stars were scheduled to play Uganda and Rwanda in June but now the matches will be rescheduled to a later date as per Caf and FIFA directives.

Kenya will be facing will take on Uganda, Mali and Rwanda in the second round of the qualifiers in Group E. Only the winner of the group will be guaranteed a place in the final phase of the qualifiers.

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