FIFA has announced the postponement of African qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup which had been due to take place in June.
FIFA said the decision was taken in conjunction with the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The postponement was reportedly made due to the "need to ensure optimal playing conditions for all teams."
FIFA said the qualifiers are now scheduled to take place in existing windows during September, October and November in 2021, as well as March in 2022.
The second round of the CAF qualification process had been due to begin in June.
Teams are due to compete across 10 groups, with the winners advancing to the third round of qualification.
The third round will see group winners drawn against each other in home and away matches, with the two legged ties deciding Africa’s five representatives at Qatar 2022.
Reigning African Cup of Nations champions Algeria headline Group A, with Burkina Faso, Niger and Djibouti providing the opposition in the second round.
Tunisia, Zambia, Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea feature in Group B, while Nigeria, Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia will contest Group C.
Cameroon face the Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Malawi in Group D as they aim to extend their African record number of appearances at the finals, having competed in seven tournaments to date.
Mali, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda will contest Group E, while Egypt head the Group F line-up where they will face Gabon, Libya and Angola.
Ghana, Africa’s most recent quarter-finalists back in 2010, will play South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia in Group G.
Group H features Senegal, Congo, Namibia and Togo, while Morocco, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Sudan compete in Group I.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Madagascar and Tanzania will compete in Group J.
World Cup qualifiers have faced numerous challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asian qualifying for the next World Cup has been severely impacted by the pandemic, with many groups having not seen games played since 2019.
In February, the majority of qualifiers scheduled for this month were postponed until June, with organisers opting for centralised locations to ensure fixtures can take place.
The South American Football Confederation postponed its March qualifiers amid travel restrictions.