THE Confederation of African Football (Caf) has postponed upcoming qualifiers for the 2020 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and 2021 Men’s Africa Cup of Nations because of the spread of coronavirus.
In a letter to member associations on Friday, Caf said that despite the fact only a few cases had been reported on the continent, the men’s matches – scheduled to take place between 25 March and 31 March – would be moved, with the women’s matches the following week also suspended.
“Several players, who are supposed to play the next Afcon qualifiers come from countries which have been severely affected by the virus,” the letter said.
Caf also explained that many African governments have imposed strong travel restrictions with many clubs unhappy about releasing players.
African football’s ruling body had previously stated it would “maintain its schedule” until an African country was declared high-risk. However, Caf had faced pressure from a number of countries in recent days and Kenya has barred sports competitors from travelling abroad.
Some 48 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers were set to take place across the continent at the end of March.
There was no mention of the men’s African Nations Championship (Chan) which is scheduled to take place in Cameroon between 4-25 April.
A delegation from Caf’s medical committee is set to visit Cameroon – which has reported two cases of coronavirus so far – on Saturday, with a view to assessing ‘the preventive measures taken by the Local Organising Committee’ ahead of the tournament for players based in their own leagues.
No date has been given for when the matches could be played but African football’s governing body said it would “share a new proposal of a calendar”.