ANKARA

African qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday were pushed back until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Qatar 2022 [qualifiers] set for May 2021,” the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said in a statement.

“The 40 teams in contention for the five slots for Qatar 2022 will commence the journey between 31 May and 15 June 2021 with the Day 1 & 2 matches,” the CAF said.

There will be six match days in the group stage, which will end in October 2021.

“From 30 August till 7 September, the Day 3 & 4 matches are expected to take place with Day 5 & 6 matches fixed for 4-12 October 2021,” it said and adding that the African playoffs for the 2022 World Cup will be held on Nov. 8-16, 2021.

The African qualifiers’ original starting date was this October.

Separately the qualifying stage for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will begin on Nov. 9 and end on March 30, 2021 as African teams will face a busy schedule for both the AFCON and World Cup qualifiers.

The Central African nation of Cameroon will host AFCON 2021.

Copyright 2021 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.