The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has unveiled the new international calendar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.
Countries in the continent were billed to commence the series in June 2021.
However, CAF has now moved it, because of “current challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
In a statement released on Thursday, the football body confirmed the World Cup qualifiers will now begin in September 2021.
“The qualifiers will now take place in the existing windows of September, October and November 2021, and March 2022.
“CAF is reassessing its protocols and processes to enhance the implementation of COVID-related protocols, including specifically focusing on pre-match testing which had been the source of some challenges in previous windows. Full details on the updated match schedule will be provided in due course,” it read in part.
Therefore, the third round will see the 10 group winners from the second round drawn into five home-and-away ties.
The winners of each tie will produce Africa’s five representatives for the 2022 World Cup.