AFCON Morocco 2025 qualifiers scheduled to kick-off September 2024

* Draw to be held on Thursday, July 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa live from SuperSport studios

* Pits 48 nations to be drawn into 12 groups of four teams each to determine top two for the finals

* Meanwhile, official draw for June 27-July 7 COSAFA Cup 2024 has been concluded today, June 14 in Johannesburg

* Malawi Flames have been withdrawn due to 21 days of mourning of late Vice-President Saulos Chilima and the 8 others

By Duncan Mlanjira

After the conclusion of Matchday 1-4 of the FIFA World Cup 2026™ qualifiers, the next matches will be in 2025 (March, September, October and November) but meanwhile, the qualifying campion for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Morocco 2025 are scheduled to kick-off September 2024.


Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) has since announced that the draw for the road to Morocco 2025 to be held on Thursday, July 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa ahead of the kick off in September.

The AFCON Morocco 2025, will be played through this year as well as alongside the FIFA World Cup 2026™ qualifiers but the finals will be held in 2026.

The year naming of the editions got changed due to disruptions caused by the CoVID-19 — thus the 2020 was played in 2021 in Cameroon and the 2023 in 2024 in Côte d’Ivoire.

For the Flames, their next six games for the Group H FIFA World Cup 2026™ are three at home — against Equatorial Guinea Liberia and fellow COSAFA member, Namibia  — with the other three away against São Tomé e Principe, Tunisia and Namibia.

First will be against Namibia followed by away to Tunisia both in March 2025 before meeting Namibia again away and Liberia at home — both in September.

Then in October, the Flames will host Equatorial Guinea before traveling to confront São Tomé e Principe, whom they beat 3-1 at Bingu National Stadium in this June’s Matchday 3 before losing 0-1 in Matchday 4 away to Equatoguineans.

Having won 1-0 in their opening campaign away to Liberia and losing 0-1 at home, the Flames are 4th in Group H in the race for the FIFA World Cup 2026™ to be hosted jointly by the United States of America, Mexico and Canada.

The 23rd edition finals will have 48 participating countries instead of the conventional 32 giving an advantage for Africa to field more teams and the top team from each of the nine groups after Match Day 10 shall earn an automatic qualification.

The four best second-placed and top ranked teams from all nine groups will engage in a continental playoff, determining a single victor who will then proceed to a second and final playoff. 

This final stage will comprise six teams from various confederations, with the top two emerging as qualified participants, ultimately making up the 48 competing teams.

As for the AFCON Morocco 2025, the qualifiers shall determine the first 24-nations finals on the heels of the thrills and successes of the Côte d’Ivoire 2023 where the host nation defied all odds to claim their third title.

On the cards for the draw of the journey towards the 35th edition of the showpiece continental sporting event will be 48 nations — including the four winners from the preliminary round (Chad, eSwatini, Liberia and South Sudan) — to be drawn into 12 groups of four teams each to determine top two for the finals.

African champions Côte d’Ivoire

Headlining the confirmed nations for the draw are reigning African champions Côte d’Ivoire joined by usual favorites ahead of the finals such as North Africans Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria; West African Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.

From the Council of Confederation of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA) are Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Angola, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Madagascar.

The others include Benin, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé e Principe, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.

Meanwhile, the official draw of the COSAFA Cup 2024 has been concluded today, June 14 in Johannesburg for the competition scheduled for June 27 to July 7.

But considering the sorrowful atmosphere as a result of the tragic passing of Vice-President Saulos Chilima, former First Lady Madame Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri and the 7 others, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has made a painful decision to withdraw Malawi’s participation at the tournament.

A statement from FAM says this is also subsequent to the 21-day mourning period declared by President Lazarus Chakwera, saying “FAM highly considered it insensitive to proceed with our preparations and subsequent participation in the championship.

“We believe that stakeholders and the general public will find merit in our bold decision as we remain steadfast in unity during this difficult period,” said the statement, while adding that FAM’s thoughts and prayers, remain with President Lazarus Chakwera, Chilima’s bereaved family as well as families of the eight other people who lost their lives and the entire nation.

There are three groups of 12 nations to mark the 23rd edition of the regional competition and will see the reigning champions Zambia looking to defend their title and extend their record as the team with the most COSAFA titles.

Group A has South Africa, Mozambique, eSwatini, Botswana; B has Zambia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and a substitute team to replace Malawi while Group C comprise Angola, Namibia, Comoros and Seychelles.

With seven titles to their name, Zambia will also aim to become the first team to win three COSAFA Cup titles in a row in the history of the competition.

Other nations with impressive COSAFA Cup titles include Zimbabwe (6), South Africa (5), Angola (3).—Extra reporting by CAFonline