Bafana Bafana will not be back in action in September after Fifa moved to scrap the international window for national teams in Africa, Asia, Oceania and North America.
Coach Molefi Ntseki might have hoped he would be able to resume his side’s bid to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, but will have to wait one more month, at least, due to fears over the Covid-19 pandemic.
It must also place the timing of the Afcon finals in January/February 2021 in real doubt, with only two rounds of qualifiers played so far and four still to go.
There are international windows available in October and November, but these had also been set aside to begin the qualifiers for the 2022 Fifa World Cup. There is also no guarantee that the October/November dates will be any safer to play than September.
Caf’s Executive Committee will meet next week, where it is expected that they will move the dates for the Afcon finals from early in the year to June 2021.
Fifa also announced they would extend the June 2021 international window for qualifiers by a week that will allow teams to play four competitive matches instead of the proposed two, which will be a crucial time in Bafana’s bid for a place at the World Cup.
The Fifa Council made a number of other decisions relating to matchdays, as follows:
* To move the intercontinental playoffs for the Fifa World Cup 2022 from March 2022 to June 2022;
* To postpone the September 2020 window for the AFC, Caf, Concacaf and the OFC;
* To proceed with the September 2020 window as planned for Conmebol and Uefa, subject to continued monitoring of the situation;
* To extend the October 2020 and November 2020 windows by one day for Uefa in order to facilitate the playing of three games instead of the current two
* To extend the June 2021 window by seven days for the AFC, Caf, Concacaf and the OFC in order to facilitate the playing of four games instead of the current two.