Zambia seeded for 2015 AFCON qualifiers AFCON qualifiers

Published On January 27, 2014 » 3618 Views» By Administrator Times » Football, Sports
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ZAMBIA has been seeded for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying series which kick-off later this year.

By being among the top seeds, the Chipolopolo automatically sailed through to the group phase of the Morocco 2015 AFCON qualifiers and avoided playing in the knock-out preliminary stages.

According to the resolutions passed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee meeting at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa, Zambia will join the race for a berth at the 2015 AFCON finals during the group stage which will start in September this year.

The CAF ranking of the countries was based on a points system from the teams’ showing in the last three AFCON competitions and also performances from the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Zambia, the 2012 AFCON winners, will avoid facing the likes of title holders, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, 2013 runners-up Burkina Faso, Mali and Tunisia in the group phase of the qualifiers when draws are made on April 27 in Cairo.

“The qualifiers shall be played in the format of several preliminary rounds, as well as a group phase with seven groups consisting of four teams each.

The two top teams of each group will then directly qualify for the Orange AFCON 2015, along with the third place winners of the seven groups,” the CAF statement reads in part.

Out of the 51 countries engaged in these qualifiers, the top 21 teams listed in the CAF ranking shall automatically qualify for the group phase.
The seven others participating in the group phase will be determined after the conclusion of the preliminary rounds to be held from May to August 2014. Zambia and other top seeds will only join the fray at group stage level which will run from September 5 to November 19.

The 2015 AFCON finals, which will be held in Moroccan cities of Rabat, Agadir, Tanger and Marrakech, will kick-off on January 17 with the new champion being crowned on February 7.

And Zambia will know if its bid to stage the 2019 AFCON finals will be granted in September this year when CAF announces the host nation.
CAF said the official candidates for the 2019 edition were Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, DR Congo and Zambia.

The decision to reschedule the announcement of the winning bid from May to September was to accord each of the six nations adequate time to receive the CAF’S inspection delegation.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Under-20 squad has been exempted from playing the first round of qualifiers for the Senegal 2015 African Youth Championship.

George Lwandamina’s squad will await the winner between Mozambique and Namibia in the second round set for May this year and will be away in the first leg set for May 10 before hosting their rivals on May 24.

Even at Under-17 level, Zambia will join the fray in the second round of the Niger 2015 African Under-17 Championship qualifiers with a tricky match against Botswana.

Zambia will host Botswana on July 19 before heading to Gaborone for a return leg on August 2.

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