The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers of the continent’s representatives to the World Cup taking place in Russia come June 2018 which was initially billed to hold in March the same year will be moved; the Confederation of African Football has announced.
The AFCON Qualifiers games of Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco, and Tunisia will be moved to October 2018 to free up space for the teams to schedule friendlies for the international break coming up in March, in their build-up for the FIFA tournament kicking off in June of the same year.
Toyin Ibitoye, spokesman for the Super Eagles confirmed the news of the matches being shifted. ‘’African teams to the World Cup will now have the March 2018 FIFA international days for the friendly games after the CAF executive committee approved a proposal by Nigeria for the 2019 AFCON qualifiers fixed for that period moved to October 2018,’’ Ibitoye is quoted as saying.
He also added that the 2019 edition of Africa’s biggest football competition will now be played in June as against January, which was the month the Cup of Nations always took place, giving more time for the 2019 AFCON qualifiers to be rounded up.
Senegal makes a return to the World Cup for the first time in 16 years while the Pharaohs of Egypt which will also be representing Africa will feature in Russia after a 28-year-absence as a result of their failure to qualify for the tournament since their last appearance in 1990 when the tournament was hosted by Italy.