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U17 Women's World Cup Qualification Africa

Caf rules in Botswana's favour after boycotting U17 Women's World Cup clash with Morocco

20:01 BST 15/05/2020
Botswana women
The African football governing body has refused to punish the Southern African nation for failing to honour their away tie

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has rescheduled Morocco's second leg of the second round tie of the 2020 U17 Women's World Cup qualifiers against Botswana.

The match originally scheduled to be played at Stade Boubker Ammar in Sale on March 14 following a 1-0 first-leg triumph at the National Stadium, Gaborone, saw the visitors not show up because they boycotted the match due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Reports say that the match's abandonment was due to the travel ban by Botswana's government on citizens to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

In March, coach Tapaphiwa Gaebolae explained why the team accepted the advice of the government not to travel to Morocco despite their disappointment.

“We wanted to make history by being the first team from Botswana to qualify for the World Cup, but now our dreams have been shattered," she told Soka25east.com.

“Honestly, we were going to reverse the first leg result, we cannot do anything now but we will play in the Cosafa Under-17 Women’s Championship which will be held in Mauritius next month.”

Following the Botswana Football Association's postponement appeal, Caf ordered the replay of the abandoned fixture after the global health crisis had prevented the Southern Africans from travelling to Morroco.

Below is the official statement signed by Caf's acting secretary-general Abdelmounaïm Bah and made available to Goal on Friday.

"We would like to you that Caf administration submitted to the Organising committee of women's football the case of the above-mentioned match that was scheduled to be played on 14th Match 2020 in Morocco but did not take place due to the decision of the government of Botswana to suspend the travels of all the citizens as a safety measure against the Covid-19 virus. 

"The member of the organising committee for women's football decided by unanimity to consider the case of Botswana as a Force Majeure and to reschedule the match once football activities resume on the continent. We will communicate to BFA in due time the proposed date for the match in question.

The Mares had seen off neighbours Zimbabwe with an aggregate score of 7-0 in the first round of the preliminaries in January, with a 5-0 first-leg win in Gaborone before a 2-0 second leg triumph in Bulawayo.

Despite suffering a defeat at home, Botswana will be delighted with the huge lifeline to turn the table against the Moroccans in the second leg in the North African country.

The winner of the match on aggregate will progress to the final round of the qualifiers to face South Africa.

Three teams will represent Africa in the 2020 Fifa U17 Women's World Cup from February 17 to March 7 in India.