CAF changes qualifying format for AFCON U-17 qualifiers

At its meeting held in 2017 in Rabat, Morocco, Confederation of African Football (CAF) made some  revisions on various working groups and one of them is  that the African Cup of Nations Under-17 qualifiers will be played in Zones.

Gunda: Malawi U-17 team is currently  aware of the two pronged situation

According to reports the format of the qualifying competition should be changed and split according to zones. At the end of the qualification phase, seven teams will join the hosts, who this year are Tanzania.

“The Committee decided to organize zonal qualifiers for the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations with the flexibility offered to each zone to propose a formula,” says the report published on CAF website.

FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda confirmed of the development, saying they put everything in place in readiness and that the Malawi U-17 team is currently  aware of the two pronged situation that is coming with the 2018 Cosafa U-17 youth championship.

“As the team goes to the Cosafa tournament, we are mindful that success would take the team to Tanzania for the continental showpiece.”

It is being hinted that CAF is working towards making Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers follow the same format of Zonal qualification which is going to cut cost for many countries.

Gunda confirmed that CAF hinted that would be considered at a previous meeting but the issue was pended and as it stands the status core remains.

CAF is has also agreed to increase the number of teams participation at the Africa Cup of Nations to 24 from 16 starting with the 2019 edition.

“The tournament will now be held in the months of June and July. The competition will however remain a biennial event (every two years), odd years and exclusively held on African soil with African national teams.”

After the disappointment of African teams at the 2018 Russia World Cup, many schools of thought believe the continent needs other representatives other than the usual ones such as Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisia and others.

It is being suggested that perhaps FIFA and CAF can devise another strategy that qualification can be in zones rather than pooling all in one basket and creating five groups.

Analysts believe that  teams like Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria, who have won the Africa Cup of Nations 7, 5, 4 and 3 times respectively need to reach, at least, the semifinals if not the final of any World Cup and not bow out at the group stages.

The analysts says Africa needs more teams at the World Cup than just five from over 50 associations.  Maybe FIFA and CAF can say two team from each from zonal groupings like the COSAFA, CECAFA, WAFU and the North African confederation should qualify and that each confederation should compete in their own regional grouping.

“That way maybe the World Cup can experience a new blend of African football rather than that from the usual suspects, Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco and Nigeria.”

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