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Soccer-African countries gear up for return to international football

SportSep 16, 2020 10:48
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By Mark Gleeson
CAPE TOWN, Sept 16 (Reuters) - African countries are gearing
up for a return to international football next month but with
many borders throughout the continent still closed due to the
COVID-19 pandemic most teams are headed to Europe to play.
Cameroon are travelling to the Netherlands, Guinea to
Portugal, while the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Tunisia head to
Austria where it is easier for them to assemble squads because
they are mostly made up of European-based players.
The next FIFA window for international football, from Oct.
5-13, is the first opportunity for African national teams to
play since last November.
The pandemic saw international football cancelled for all
except European countries this month, and uncertainty over
travel around Africa led the Confederation of African Football
to put back the resumption of official competition to November.
Next month's window will allow African countries to play
much needed friendlies to prepare for upcoming qualifiers for
both the next Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup finals.
Nigeria have arranged friendlies against the Ivory Coast and
Tunisia on Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 in Austria, while Cameroon have a
friendly against Japan in Utrecht, after which they will stay in
a training camp in the Netherlands for a few more days.
Cameroon coach Toni Conceicao this week named a preliminary
squad of 33 players for the match and camp.
Guinea play the Cape Verde Islands on Oct. 10 and Gambia on
Oct. 13 in Faro.
The Democratic Republic of Congo are travelling to Morocco
for a training camp and a behind-closed-doors international
against their hosts in Rabat on Oct. 13.
Senegal will also play Morocco in Rabat on Oct. 9.
African champions Algeria have yet to announce their plans
but media reports say they will also go to Austria.
South Africa are trying to organise two matches at home next
month against neighbouring countries but have yet to finalise
arrangements as they await for a possible reopening of their
borders in the coming weeks.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Soccer-African countries gear up for return to international football
 

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