Warriors to resume 2021 AFCON qualifiers in November

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By Sports Reporter

THE Warriors will return to action in November this year after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced the resumption of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The Zimbabwe’s senior men’s national football team was scheduled to face reigning African champions Algeria in a double-header in April but the games were called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two games will now take place in November.

According to CAF, “the qualifiers will resume on 9-17 November 2020 with the Day 3 and 4 matches whilst the penultimate and ultimate matches take place on 22-30 March 2021.”

The qualifiers started in November last year. The Warriors were held to a disappointing goalless draw by Botswana at home before bouncing back to beat Zambia away and are second in Group H behind Algeria.

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations which will be hosted by Cameroon has been moved to 2022 due to delays caused by Covid-19.

The Confederation of African Football says it is monitoring the situation closely and working with the relevant authorities with regards to hosting of the matches and will make pronouncements accordingly in the event of developments that will affect playing a match at the designated venue.

Meanwhile, the start of the African group stage qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup have been shifted to June next year and will be completed in a five-month dash for a place in Qatar, according to a Confederation of African Football memo seen by Reuters.

The qualifiers were due to begin in October, but the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a reshuffle in the African international football calendar.

The continent continues to be hard hit by the pandemic, with only a handful of domestic competitions such as South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco currently under way.

The preliminary World Cup competition will now be played in four windows next year, with two games each. The Warriors were drawn in Group G alongside neighbours South Africa, West African giants Ghana and Ethiopia.

African qualification calendar:

5-13 October, 2020: Open for friendly matches

9-17 November, 2020: Match Day 3 & 4 (2021 Nations Cup)

22-30 March, 2021: Match Day 5 & 6 (2021 Nations Cup)

31 May -15 June, 2021: Match Day 1 & 2 (2022 World Cup)

30 August – 7 September, 2021: Match Day 3 & 4 (2022 World Cup)

4-12 October, 2021: Match Day 5 & 6 (2022 World Cup)

8-16 November, 2021: Play-off round (2022 World Cup)