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World Cup 2022 Play-off: Caf rejects Ghana’s stadium appeal for Nigeria cracker

15:05 GMT+3 02/02/2022
Partey Afcon Ghana Comoros 2022
The continent’s football ruling body has turned down the Black Stars’ request to host the Super Eagles at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi

The Confederation of African Football has vetoed the Ghana Football Association’s demand to name a new stadium for next month’s 2022 Fifa World Cup play-off against Nigeria.

Initially, the Black Stars were billed to take on the Super Eagles at the Cape Coast Stadium, albeit, the GFA has another idea because that venue would host the country’s Independence Day celebration on March 6.

However, Caf turned down the request.

“The Fifa World Cup 2022 preliminary competition regulations in its article 21 venues, kick-off times and training sessions stipulate that “The venues of matches shall be set by the host association and/or by the confederation, as applicable, and the matches may only be played in stadiums that have been inspected and approved by the confederation concerned. The opponents and the Fifa general secretariat shall be notified by the host association and/or by the confederation, as applicable, at least three months before the match in question is due to be played,” read a statement from the continent’s ruling body.

“24th of December 2021 was the deadline set by Caf for the participating national associations to select and communicate to Caf their preferred venue for the play-off round of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers.

“On the 23rd of December 2021, GFA informed Caf that Cape Coast Stadium was the venue selected for the play-off round of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers.

“Based on the venue selection received from each of the participating national associations, Caf has timely concluded the assessment of the selected stadium(s) and communicated to Fifa the venue decisions for the upcoming Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers play-off round.”

En route to qualifying for the 2002 edition co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, Nigeria and Ghana were pooled in Group B of the final round that had Liberia, Sudan and Sierra Leone.

Still fresh from their disappointing Africa Cup of Nations ouster, Ghana would be aiming to appease their fans by earning a fourth World Cup appearance.

“Considering that matchday is in less than 30 days, Caf is not in a position to delay any further the confirmation of the match venue. As you are aware, the selection of the venue, respective date and time of the match, has to be set well in advance having a direct impact on the preparation of match logistics and operations by all the concerned parties,” it continued.

“Besides, please note that Kumasi Sports Stadium is currently non-homologated by Caf to host international matches, since it has been under renovations and no Caf inspection was conducted to the stadium to re-assess the level of stadium compliance.

“Considering the above, the request of change of venue is not accepted, hence the match Ghana Vs. Nigeria for the play-off round of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers should be maintained at Cape Coast Stadium.

“In case your association reiterate the position to change the venue, since there is no other approved venue in Ghana, your national team will be requested to play its upcoming Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers play-off round match in an approved stadium outside its territory, and the venue must be selected from among the stadiums approved by Caf.”