By Victor Kanayo
Six days to their first group 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier, Eritrea have announced their withdrawal
This was confirmed by the World governing body, FIFA in a statement via its website.
Part of the statement reads, “All of Eritrea’s matches have been cancelled, while the rest of the match schedule for Group E remains unchanged.”
The Eritrea squad were meant to travel and face Morocco on November 16, 2023.
While Morocco are currently ranked as number one in Africa and 13th globally, the East African nation are yet to be ranked by FIFA.
With their withdrawal, Group E of African qualifiers will now be contested by the five remaining teams including Morocco, Zambia, Congo, Tanzania and Niger.
The winners of Group E will automatically qualify for the 2026 World Cup finals, which will be held in Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Eritrea’s last international was a friendly against Sudan in January 2020, while their most recent competitive game was in September 2019 as part of the qualifying process for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Eritrea had in 2022 withdrawn from qualifying for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Their pull out gave their opponents Botswana a bye through to the group stage.