With the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the horizon, Senegal boss Aliou Cisse has appealed to the Confederation of African football (CAF) to rethink the timing of the upcoming 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Qatar World Cup is set to kick off in November, which will leave the nations who qualified for the showpiece with only the September international break and one week prior to the tournament to prepare.
While nations from other continents will be able to play friendlies in that break, the African countries participating will be involved in AFCON 2023 qualifiers.
Scroll through the gallery above for a reminder as to which five African nations have qualified for the 2022 World Cup!
This leaves the five African teams that qualified for the World Cup with little time to experiment and assess the depth of their squads as they are tasked with the responsibility of qualifying for the AFCON that will be held in Ivory Coast next year.
Cisse has now spoken out on the issue, imploring CAF to consider changing their schedule for the qualifiers later this year.
“The best thing [to] help the five [African] selections that have qualified [for the World Cup] is to stop the [qualifiers] in September,” the 46-year-old told reporters after Senegal secured a 1-0 victory over Rwanda on Tuesday, per BeSoccer.
“[This would] give the opportunity to the countries qualified [for the World] to do their preparations.
“I think we can find a solution to postpone the [qualifiers] scheduled for September.”
The challenge for CAF would be to find new dates for the September fixtures if they do decide to postpone them as there is only one other window – in March 2023 – before the continental competition takes place in June 2023.
The plan at this point in time is to have matchday five and six of the AFCON 2023 qualifying campaign take place in March next year, although an alternative that could be considered is for only the September matches involving World Cup participants to be delayed, with catch-up games then being played in the World Cup window once teams are eliminated from the global showpiece.
Here are the 10 highest-ranked African nations today, according to FIFA!