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AFCON 2023: Tunisia Considering Boycott If Qualifiers Are Not Moved

 

Tunisia have suggested they may skip the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations unless the qualifying dates for the tournament are moved to avoid clashing with preparations for the 2022 World Cup.

It is thought six rounds of Nations Cup qualifiers are planned to be held across June and September this year, but that would restrict five African sides – Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia – in the build-up to the World Cup.

The tournament in Qatar will be held in November and December, midway through the European season.

September’s international window, where two matches can be played, is the last available to national teams prior to naming their World Cup squads.

Clubs then have to release players on 14 November, a week before the first group matches in Qatar.

The 2023 Nations Cup in Ivory Coast is scheduled for June and July next year, but the qualifying group draw and dates for matches are yet to be announced by its organisers, the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

Wadie Jary, president of the Tunisian Football Federation (FTF), has said the country could boycott Nations Cup qualifiers if they are not moved, while BBC Sport Africa understands the Moroccan federation has requested that the games are postponed.

“If Caf doesn’t change the dates, then it becomes a problem,” Jary told Tunisian TV station Attessia.

“It becomes a question of whether we participate in this Afcon or not, if it will deprive me from World Cup preparation.

“At that point, the question will arise: ‘Will we sacrifice the 2023 Afcon or not?’. I hope it doesn’t get that far and we come to find a solution with Caf.”

Tunisia have played in the past 15 Nations Cup finals, but a Caf spokesperson would not be drawn on the comments by Jary, who also sits on Caf’s executive committee.

“We cannot comment on the statements allegedly made by president Jary,” he said. “I’m sure if he needs to consult Caf, he knows who to talk to.”

Caf president Patrice Motsepe visited the Ivorian capital Abidjan on Monday and said he was “reassured” by the progress made in preparation to host the continent’s showpiece tournament.

Caf is yet to sign a host country agreement with Ivory Coast for the 2023 Nations Cup, but it is working on a deal.

The tournament dates in June and July fall during with the rainy season in West Africa – an issue which was a factor in moving the 2021 edition in Cameroon to January and February this year.

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