For African teams, the race for a place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will begin in June next year.
The African group stage qualifiers will, therefore, be completed within a five-month dash for a ticket to the tournament.
The shifting of the qualifiers to June 2021 was announced in a memo from the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The qualifiers were originally scheduled to commence in October, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a postponement.
Currently, many countries on the continent have suspended all football activities in the wake of the pandemic.
The likes of South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco are among the few countries still holding domestic competitions.
The African group stage qualifiers for the World Cup will be played in four windows next year.
The 10 winners of the group stages will advance to play in a playoff, of which the winners will seal a place in Qatar.
Below is the football calendar for Africa:
Oct 5-13, 2020: Open for friendly matches
Nov 9-17, 2020: Match Day 3 & 4 (2021 Nations Cup)
Mar 22-30, 2021: Match Day 5 & 6 (2021 Nations Cup)
May 31-Jun 15, 2021: Match Day 1 & 2 (2022 World Cup)
Aug 30-Sep 7, 2021: Match Day 3 & 4 (2022 World Cup)
Oct 4-12, 2021: Match Day 5 & 6 (2022 World Cup)
Nov 8-16, 2021: Play-off round (2022 World Cup