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Saadane claims Nations Cup move

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Johannesburg

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane
Algeria coach Rabah Saadane says there will be a Nations Cup in 2013

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane says that the 2014 Africa Cup of Nations is to be brought forward to 2013.

"It's official and what's more, the qualifiers for the Nations Cup and World Cup are going to be separate from now on," he told BBC Sport.

Suleiman Habuba, the Confederation of African Football's Communications Director, says there is yet to be an offcial statement on the matter.

"We are in South Africa and looking to talk to Fifa over the matter," he said.

Meanwhile, Fifa General Secretary Jerome Valcke would only confirm that talks are ongoing within Caf about the situation.

Saadane also suggested that last weekend's qualifying draw for the Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, which takes place in January 2012, will count for the 2013 finals as well.

"The eleven different qualifying groups are going to count for both 2012 and 2013," he claimed.

Yet it is unclear how the finalists will be determined since the 2012 co-hosts will welcome 14 teams, while 15 nations must join Libya in whichever year the North Africans do stage the finals.

Qualifying for the 2012 Nations Cup starts in September this year, concluding in October 2011.

"After the 2013 Nations Cup, a separate African qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup will take place that same year - but it must finish by November 2013," the 63-year-old said.

Once again, it's unclear how over 50 countries will be whittled down to five or six World Cup finalists in ten months.

Saadane gave some background to his comments, claiming the decision to switch is to help Africa's World Cup finalists - who currently have to contest the world's biggest football event just five months after the Nations Cup.

"I'm very happy about the decision because it's only Caf that stages its major finals in the same year as a World Cup, and just beforehand as well," he added.

"In Europe, they stage their finals two years either side of the World Cup while the Cope America now seems to take place the year after a World Cup - it's a good decision."

Caf adopted its joint Nations Cup and World Cup qualifying system for the 2006 finals in Germany, attracting much criticism for leaving many countries without a competitive match for three years.

The Nations Cup has been played in an even year since 1968, although the very first competition in Sudan took place in 1957.

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see also
Toure calls for Nations Cup move
30 Dec 09 |  African
Nations Cup leaves Grant baffled
22 Dec 09 |  African

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