Nigeria: FIFA 2022 World Cup - Covid-19 Disrupts CAF Qualifying Matches

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The Super Eagles are in Group C with Cape Verde, Central Africa Republic, and Liberia

The coronavirus pandemic continues to cause disruptions and havoc in sporting calendars and the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers are the latest to be postponed on account of the pandemic.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria and other African countries were meant to start their quest for a place at Qatar 2022 in June but FIFA and CAF have jointly announced a shift in the commencement of the World Cup qualifiers on the continent.

In a statement on the FIFA official website, the world football governing body explained the decision for the postponement was occasioned by the prevailing COVID-19 situation in Africa.

The statement 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.

"The qualifiers are now scheduled to take place in the existing windows of September, October, November 2021, and March 2022."

The Emergency Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) also released a statement on its official website on Thursday.

"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.

"The qualifiers will now take place in the existing windows of September, October, November 2021, and March 2022.

"CAF 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.

"Full details on the updated match schedule will be provided in due course."

The Super Eagles are in Group C with Cape Verde, Central Africa Republic, and Liberia.

The top teams in each of the 10 groups will go into a play-off stage to decide the five countries that will represent Africa at next year's World Cup in Qatar.

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