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Guinea cede home advantage to Morocco in World Cup qualifiers

CAPE TOWN : Guinea have been forced to move their next home matches in World Cup qualifiers after the country’s coup d’etat and have ceded home advantage to their rivals Morocco for the match postponed earlier this month because of the putsch.

The security situation in Guinea has been deemed unsafe by FIFA and the Confederation of African Football after Morocco’s squad were forced to flee the country on the eve of their scheduled qualifier when a military uprising on Sept. 5 seized power and overthrew president Alpha Conde.

The postponed match will now be played in Rabat on Oct. 12, FIFA confirmed on Wednesday, handing Morocco a huge advantage in a group where Guinea were expected to provide a stiff challenge.

Only the group winner advances to the final playoff round in March and Morocco will now effectively play five of their six Group I matches at home, as their away game against Guinea Bissau is also being hosted in Morocco on Oct. 9.

Guinea Bissau is on an expanding list of African countries who have had to move their home World Cup qualifiers to neutral venues because their stadia failed CAF inspection.

The Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Sudan are the latest to be added to the list after the first two rounds of African group qualifiers at the start of September.

It is a major embarrassment for the Ivorians, who are to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals and who built a new 60,000 seater stadium in Abidjan for the event.

The Ebimpe Olympic Stadium was inaugurated last October and used on Sept. 6 when they beat Cameroon 2-1 in a key Group D encounter but the quality of pitch was so poor that it has since been banned.

The Ivorians will now host Malawi in their next scheduled home qualifier in nearby Benin on Oct. 11.

Mozambique and Sudan are moving their home games to Morocco, who have offered to host most of the countries forced to seek alternative venues.

Niger, however, have had restrictions on their stadium in Niamey lifted after renovations were completed and will host Algeria there on Oct. 12, FIFA confirmed.

(Editing by Christian Radnedge)

Source: Reuters

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