Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers Shift
Football fans looking forward to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations were gearing up for qualifiers to resume in early 2018, but will now have to postpone any online betting on most of them until October.
Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia have all qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and the Confederation of African Football (Caf) has agreed to postpone their second round of qualifiers, originally scheduled this March.
This will allow all five sides to play a series of friendlies over the period, as they prepare for the World Cup in June.
Algeria v Gambia Still On
The one exception is the Algeria v Gambia Africa Cup of Nations Group D qualifier scheduled for March 24. As neither side qualified for the 2018 World Cup, that one will go ahead as planned.
In the first round of group-stage qualifiers, played in June 2017, Algeria beat Togo 1-0 and Benin inflicted an identical defeat on Gambia, leaving Algeria and Benin tied at the top of the group, and Togo and Gambia tied on the bottom.
So the Algeria fixture is a must-win for Gambia, if they want to stay in contention through the remaining four qualifying matches scheduled from September 2017 until March next year.
World Cup Experience Could Reshuffle Favourites
Egypt, in Group J with Tunisia in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, and Morocco in Group B, will be two teams hoping to come out of the World Cup stronger, tighter outfits, because both need to up their game in the chase for a Cup of Nations berth.
Tunisia beat Egypt 1-0 in their first qualifier, while Morocco went down by the same margin to Cameroon, the only country already guaranteed a 2019 spot as the hosts of the tournament. Both sides should see the postponement until October as a welcome reprieve, while they work on plugging the holes.
Tunisia top Group J, and Senegal are in the same spot in Group A after thumping Equatorial Guinea 3-0 last year. Nigeria, after a 2-0 loss to South Africa in Group E, are in the same boat as Morocco and Egypt. They really need to do well at the World Cup and then come back strong when qualifiers resume, if they are to stay in the hunt.
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