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Eritrea withdraw from World Cup qualifiers



Eritrea have withdrawn from African qualifying for the 2026 World Cup less than a week before their opening game, soccer’s global governing body said on Friday.

No reason was given for the withdrawal.

Eritrea were in Group E and were scheduled to begin their campaign in Morocco on Nov. 16. The qualifying group will go ahead with the remaining five teams, including Zambia, Congo, Tanzania and Niger.

“FIFA and CAF can confirm that the Eritrean National Football Federation has withdrawn from the FIFA World Cup 2026 preliminary competition,” FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA said all Eritrea’s games have been cancelled. The rest of the Group E schedule remains unchanged.


According to a media release by CAF, following Eritrea’s withdrawal, group E of the CAF qualifiers will be contested by the five remaining teams: Morocco, Zambia, Congo, Tanzania and Niger. All of Eritrea’s matches have been cancelled, while the rest of the match schedule for Group E remains unchanged.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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