Tunisian Youssef Meskeni (R) vies with Egypt's Mohamed Elneny (L) for the ball during their international friendly football match at the Cairo International stadium in the Egyptian capital on January 8, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
The Confederation of African football (CAF) revealed on Wednesday the new schedule of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after accepting the request of Africa's representatives at next year's World Cup.
Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia have asked the African governing body to revise its schedule for the Nations Cup qualifiers, with the next round originally set to be played in March. The five teams said they would prefer to postpone that round to focus on their preparations for the World Cup.
"The decision is to allow the five African qualified teams for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 namely Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia, to take advantage of the March 2018 window to prepare for the global tournament," read a statement on the CAF official website on Wednesday.
According to the new schedule, Egypt will host Niger in September instead of March before facing Swaziland twice in October.
The Pharaohs will host Tunisia in November before ending their qualifying campaign with an away game against Niger in March 2019.
Egypt started their campaign in the qualifiers with a 1-0 loss to Tunisia at Rades stadium. They are at the bottom of their group with no points, with Tunisia on top with three.
The Nations Cup will be switched to the summer and expanded to include 24 countries from the 2019 edition in Cameroon. The top two in each qualifying group will reach the biennial tournament.