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Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Friday, 24 September 2010 15:48 UK

Caf reveals format for 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers

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Caf hopes the switch will help African teams do well at the World Cup

The fourteen countries who qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations will face just one opponent to reach the 2013 finals in Libya.

With two tournaments scheduled to be held in two successive years, Caf has finally settled on its plan to make the 2013 qualifiers workable.

This has arisen because the Cup of Nations is being switched to be held in an odd year starting from 2013.

The 2012 tournament will end in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in February.

This means there will be little time for countries who qualify for the 2012 competition to contest a qualifying campaign that normally lasts one year.

The preliminary phase of the qualifiers will start with the countries who fail to qualify for the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in January 2012.

Fifteen countries that make it through the preliminary qualifiers will be drawn against fifteen teams from the 2012 tournament - although Libya's qualification affects who those teams are.

The winners from that round will automatically qualify for the competition and will be joined by hosts Libya.

"Countries that do not qualify for the 2012 tournament will play a first round eliminatory, with direct elimination, with a view to finding fifteen teams," Caf said in a statement.

"If necessary, if the number of teams involved exceeds 45, a preliminary round would be organised. In this case, the criteria for the teams to undergo a preliminary round will depend on Fifa ranking.

"The second round of qualifiers, also through direct elimination, will witness the fifteen qualified teams of the first round qualifiers to play against the fifteen teams that would have participated at the 2012 CAN, after complete draws.

"If the Libyan team qualifies for CAN 2012, the fifteen other teams will directly play the second qualifying round of the 2013 CAN.

"If Libya doesn't qualify for the CAN 2012, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea will play a home and away play-off and the winner will participate in the second round qualifiers."

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
Nations Cup switched to odd years
16 May 10 |  African
Togo's African Cup ban is lifted
14 May 10 |  African
Saadane claims Nations Cup move
26 Feb 10 |  African
Toure calls for Nations Cup move
30 Dec 09 |  African
Nations Cup leaves Grant baffled
22 Dec 09 |  African

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