Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has postponed 2022 World Cup qualifiers scheduled for Africa from June until September following failures of stadiums to meet international standards.
Aside from failures of stadiums to meet international standards, the football governing body also said that threats posed by coronavirus pandemic formed parts of its decision to postpone the matches for safety of those involved.
Confirming the new development on Thursday, the global football body said that following the postponement, there would be double matchdays in September, October, and November with the 10 group winners advancing to the final round next March.
Africa has been allocated five places at the 32-nation tournament in Qatar, which has been moved from its traditional mid-year setting to November and December because of extreme summer heat.
Had two matchdays been staged in June, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, and Sierra Leone would not have been able to stage qualifiers.
The main stadiums in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, and Uganda were also ruled out, but they had alternate venues capable of hosting internationals.
Recently elected Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe, from South Africa has prioritised improving poor facilities and pitches at many national stadiums.