The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) have turned down Ghana Football Association (GFA) request to change their 2022 World Cup play-off first leg match venue against Nigeria.
The continent’s football ruling body rejected the Black Stars’ request to host the Super Eagles at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.
The Black Stars were initially penciled to take on the Super Eagles at the Cape Coast Stadium, but the country’s football ruling body applied for a change of venue because Baba Yara Stadium would host the country’s Independence Day celebration on March 6.
However, their appeal was disapproved by CAF who said Ghana’s request came later than the approved time for such change to be granted.
“The Fifa World Cup 2022 preliminary competition regulations in its article 21 venues, kick-off times and training sessions stipulate that ‘The venues of matches shall be set by the host association and/or by the confederation, as applicable, and the matches may only be played in stadiums that have been inspected and approved by the confederation concerned.
“The opponents and the FIFA general secretariat shall be notified by the host association and/or by the confederation, as applicable, at least three months before the match in question is due to be played,” CAF statement rejecting the appeal read.
“24th of December 2021 was the deadline set by Caf for the participating national associations to select and communicate to Caf their preferred venue for the play-off round of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers.
“On the 23rd of December 2021, GFA informed Caf that Cape Coast Stadium was the venue selected for the play-off round of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers.
“Based on the venue selection received from each of the participating national associations, Caf has timely concluded the assessment of the selected stadium(s) and communicated to Fifa the venue decisions for the upcoming Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers play-off round.
“Considering that matchday is in less than 30 days, Caf is not in a position to delay any further the confirmation of the match venue. As you are aware, the selection of the venue, respective date and time of the match, has to be set well in advance having a direct impact on the preparation of match logistics and operations by all the concerned parties,” it continued.
“Besides, please note that Kumasi Sports Stadium is currently non-homologated by Caf to host international matches, since it has been under renovations and no Caf inspection was conducted to the stadium to re-assess the level of stadium compliance.
“Considering the above, the request of change of venue is not accepted, hence the match Ghana Vs. Nigeria for the play-off round of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers should be maintained at Cape Coast Stadium.
“In case your association reiterate the position to change the venue, since there is no other approved venue in Ghana, your national team will be requested to play its upcoming Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers play-off round match in an approved stadium outside its territory, and the venue must be selected from among the stadiums approved by Caf,” it added.
Ghana-Nigeria football rivalry is dated back to six decades with the most recent encounter being the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup qualifier where Nigeria and Ghana were pooled in Group B of the final round that had Liberia, Sudan and Sierra Leone.
Still fresh from their disappointing Africa Cup of Nations ouster, both countries would be aiming to appease their fans by earning qualifying for the quadrennial tournament in Qatar.
The two-leg winner-take-all clashes will hold between 24th and 29th of March, 2022.