The qualifiers for the 2022 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Women’s Africa Cup of Nations that were set to start next month, have been postponed to October this year. The announcement was made by CAF this week.
The postponement of the qualifiers follows that of the 2022 Fifa World Cup men’s qualifiers, which were pushed to September this year.
“The reasons for the postponements were based on the actual conditions of certain stadiums in Africa and the restrictions related to Covid-19. The first round will now take place in the Fifa window of 18 to 26 October 2021 and the second round will take place in the Fifa window of 14 to 23 February 2022,” explained CAF.
Namibia’s Brave Gladiators were set to face Tanzania in their first qualifier clash, but with the recently announced postponement, Namibia Football Association (NFA) acting technical director Jacque Shipanga believes the girls will now have ample time to properly prepare.
She told New Era Sport most of their national team players are either going to school or working, and with CAF pushing the fixture to October, it is a bonus because it’s going to grant them time to prepare well and work on some technical issues.
“It was expected for CAF to consider the impact of Covid-19 on the women’s game. The lack of safe stadiums for competitions in some of CAF member countries, which includes Namibia, was another issue. This is good for our team where 99% of the players are amateurs and either go to work or university and only come to training thereafter.
“It’s always good in such a situation for any national team to have enough time to prepare. The postponement also gives adequate time for the appointment of a full-time head coach for the Gladiators. In that space of the postponement, NFA will also be starting with its women’s premiership and regional leagues and that too will be great in terms of fitness for our elite players ahead of international competitions,” she said.