The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has revealed on Thursday the qualifying format for the 2013 African Cup of Nations. The African governing body announced on May that the Nations Cup would be held in every odd year starting from 2013.
This means that there will be two tournaments in successive years with Equatorial Guinea and Gabon co-hosting the next one in 2012 and Libya holding the 2013 event.
It was not known whether the ongoing qualifiers would qualify the teams for the 2012 Nations Cup only or both tournaments but CAF moved to clear up confusion. “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 on its website after a meeting of its executive committee.
“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 (except Libya, host country of the 2013 edition and by consequence already qualified) 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 Orange CAN 2012, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea will play home and away play-off and the winner will participate in the second round qualifiers.”
CAF also said that the qualifiers’ old format would come into effect again before the 2015 Nations Cup.
Egypt have won an unprecedented third consecutive Nations Cup title in Angola last January.