The Confederation of African Football, CAF , have executed a new qualifying format for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The conclusion was made during the executive meeting chaired by the President of CAF, Dr. Patrice Motsepe, held in Algiers today. In the meeting, CAF also announced the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023 Final Draw date and host of the African Women Champions League.
According to CAF, on the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers, the Executive Committee approved the format, and dates of the Qualifiers. The new format has been adapted in line with FIFA’s expanded FIFA World Cup format and will involve all the 54 Member Associations of CAF, who will be divided into nine (9) Groups.
The winners of each Group will automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026. The four best runners-up (from the Groups) will play in a CAF Play-Off tournament. The winner (CAF Play-Off tournament) will play in the FIFA Play-off Tournament.
The Executive Committee noted the progress that is being made in Cote d’Ivoire in preparations for the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (“CAN”) Côte d’Ivoire 2023.
The EXCO announced that the Official Draw of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023 will be conducted on Thursday, 12 October 2023.
World Cup qualifying format and date as approved by CAF:
13-21 Nov 2023 FIFA WC 2026 – MD 1 & MD 2.
3-11 Jun 2024 FIFA WC 2026 – MD 3 & MD 4.
17-25 Mar 2025 FIFA WC 2026 – MD 5 & MD 6.
1-9 Sep 2025 FIFA WC 2026 – MD 7 & MD 8.
6-14 Oct 2025 FIFA WC 2026 – MD 9 & MD 10.
10-18 Nov 2025 CAF playoff tournament.
Mar 2026 FIFA playoff tournament
*Match Day (MD)
The Executive Committee announced that the Official Draw of the FIFA World Cup 2026 African Qualifiers will be on Wednesday 12 July 2023 in Cotonou, Benin – the night before the 45th CAF Ordinary General Assembly.
Furthermore, the Executive Committee of CAF announced Côte d’Ivoire as the next host country of the CAF Women’s Champions League 2023. The staging of the CAF Women’s Champions League 2023 will enable Côte d’Ivoire to test the facilities that will be used for next year’s TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023.
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