By Sports Reporter
THE Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced the postponement of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers which were supposed to be played later this month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Zimbabwe’s Warriors were scheduled to meet reigning African champions Algeria on March 26 with the return leg scheduled for three days later.
The postponement comes as a big relief to ZIFA, who had written to CAF earlier during the week requesting the Warriors’ matches to be suspended until a later date due to the rapid spread of COVID-19.
ZIFA was also yet to secure an alternative venue for the national team’s home match after CAF recently banned all local stadiums from hosting international matches while plans to use a venue in neighbouring South Africa seemed headed for failure.
CAF had earlier in the week indicated that the matches would go on as scheduled before changing their stance on Friday night.
“Following the growing concern of the COVID-19 virus and the latest declaration of the World Health Organisation (WHO) describing it as a pandemic, CAF emergency committee has decided to postpone the following matches until further notice; Total AFCON 2021 Qualifiers: Match days 3 and 4 of the qualifiers initially scheduled from 25th to 31st March, FIFA Women U-20 World Cup Qualifiers: Initially scheduled from 20-22 March and 27-29 March, Total Women AFCON 2020 Qualifiers: Initially scheduled from 8th to 14th April.
The 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) scheduled for Cameroon next month may also suffer the same fate.
“Concerning the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN 2020) scheduled for Cameroon from 4th to 25th April, a delegation from the CAF Medical Committee is scheduled to visit Cameroon from 14-15 March 2020. The purpose of this mission is to assess all the preventive measures taken by the Local Organising Committee, a decision will be taken after the inspection visit,” CAF said in a statement.
“On the other hand, CAF has also decided to postpone the Match Commissioners Workshop scheduled for the 19th & 20th March until further notice.
“We would like to assure you that CAF is monitoring the situation closely and working with the competent authorities such as the WHO on the impact of the virus in the continent and CAF competitions.”