Saturday, January 25, 2014

Gambia pushed to CAF preliminary after dismal performance



Gambia end 2013 with an insignificant leap for the Scorpions in December’s FIFA Coca-Cola World Rankings – moving three places up, to 131 in the world and one place up, to 39 in Africa (Photo Credit: M.S.Joof/TNBES/June 2013)

The Gambia has been put among worst performing countries that are compelled to enter a preliminary African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2015) qualifying round following the Scorpions dismal performance in previous campaigns.

The continent’s football governing body, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Friday revealed The Gambia and 30 other countries will go into the initial stages of qualifying for Morocco 2015.

Other countries are Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Botswana, Malawi, Uganda, Mozambique, Benin, Sierra Leone, Congo, CAR, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Namibia, Burundi, Lesotho, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Chad, Sao Tome, Seychelles, Comoros, Mauritius, Swaziland, Eritrea, Mauritania, and South Sudan.

Only seven places are available for all these countries, CAF said on January 24.  

Gambia ended the year 2013 with an insignificant leap for the Scorpions in December’s FIFA Coca-Cola World Rankings – moving three places up, to 131 in the world and one place up, to 39 in Africa.

21 nations including Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Tunisia, Algeria, Angola, Cape Verde, Togo, Egypt, South Africa, Cameroon, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Niger, Guinea, Senegal and Sudan have been given a bye and will enter straight into the group stages of the qualifying proper. 

CAF said the bye is based on a ranking system on the past three Nations Cup competitions and the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

In the group stages, the 28 nations will be split into seven groups, with the top two in each pool and the best third-placed country qualifying for the finals along with hosts Morocco, according to CAF. The draw for the qualifiers comes on April 17 in Cairo, Egypt.

The Confederation has already scheduled the preliminary rounds in May and August, with the final phase taking place from September 5 to November 19 – with the draw coming later on November 26 in Morocco.

Meanwhile, Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, DR Congo, and Zambia have all bid to host the CAN2019, while the candidates for the CAN2021 are Algeria, Ivory Coast and Guinea.

Libya maintains the right to host the CAN2017 after swapping with South Africa for the 2013 event over a political unrest that saw its leader Maumar Gaddafi toppled and killed in 2011.

The CAF executive committee has said it will announce who will host the 2019 and 2021 competitions in September 2014.



Written by Modou S. Joof




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