FIFA Bans 8 African Nations from Hosting World Cup Qualifiers

The trophy of the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup is pictured during the final draw of the 2019 FIFA Women World cup football tournament in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, on December 8, 2018. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

FIFA has declared the grounds of eight African countries unfit to host international matches and they will have to play their ties away from home in the next round of World Cup qualifying.

The affected countries are Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mali, Namibia and Niger. The Octet have all had matches in the group phase of Africa’s qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Their venues failed inspections by a team from the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

FIFA confirmed these changes in the list of fixtures for the first two rounds of group qualifiers next month, following a thorough review of stadiums and fields across Africa.

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Burkina Faso will be most affected by the decision, as they will lose home advantage for their crucial match against Algeria in Group A on 6 September. Originally scheduled for Ouagadougou, the game has been moved to Marrakesh, where Niger will also face Burkina Faso on 1 September.

Morocco will also host several other games with Djibouti taking on Niger in Rabat on 5 September, while Mali must host Rwanda in Agadir on 31 August, according to Fifa’s schedule.

Some 20 years ago, Mali built new stadiums to host the Africa Cup of Nations finals, but none are deemed suitable now.

On 1 September, Namibia will host Congo in Group H, and Malawi will host Mozambique in Group D six days later. Both games will be played at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg.

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CAF found Guinea Bissau’s playing surface, changing rooms, and floodlights to be below international standards during a late inspection of the facilities there in April. The match has now been scheduled for Nouakchott, Mauritania, instead of Bissau.

Guinea Bissau Football Federation president Carlos Mendes Teixeira said countries banned from playing at home were free to negotiate their own alternatives.

There are 40 teams competing in 10 African groups, with only the winners advancing to the home-and-away playoffs next March that will determine five African qualifiers for the finals in Qatar in late 2022.

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