Super Eagles opponents at the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Central Africa Republic, CAR, have been barred from playing their home fixtures in their country due to poor facilities. CAR is among the 8 countries banned by the Confederation of Africa Football, CAF, from playing their Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers at home following the inability of their various stadiums to meet the global standard to hold matches of such magnitude.

The CAR FA has since opted for Douala in Cameroon to host the games that will involve Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde. They will host Nigeria on 12 October in Douala after the first leg of a doubleheader in Nigeria on the 6th of the same month. Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, and Niger have all had matches moved to neutral grounds at the start of the group phase of Africa’s qualifiers for the next World Cup in Qatar. Poor stadium maintenance is a major problem in Africa, and CAF boss Patrice Motsepe warned offenders soon after being elected CAF president this year to rectify the situation or face the consequences.

All those whose stadiums and or playing surfaces were not up to scratch were allowed to nominate alternate venues. But with only the 10 section winners advancing to the final elimination phase next March, the potential loss of home advantage for three matches could be crucial. The ruling will come as a particular blow to Burkina Faso, who will now have to cede home advantage for what could be a pivotal Group A game against African champions Algeria on September 6. Instead of being played in Ouagadougou, the match has been moved to Marrakesh in Morocco.

Marrakesh will also host Niger’s clash with Burkina Faso on September 1. Djibouti will play Niger in another Group A game in Rabat on September 5 while Mali, favorites in Group E, must host Rwanda in Agadir on August 31. Mali boasted six international standard stadiums when they staged the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations, yet none are any longer deemed suitable


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