Jan 1 (Reuters) - Swaziland have withdrawn from the 2013 African Nations Cup, just a week before the side were due to play the first leg of a preliminary round match, the country’s football association has confirmed.
Swaziland were scheduled to meet the Seychelles in a first round tie on Jan. 6 and 20 but pulled out because of financial constraints, officials said.
The late withdrawal is likely to lead to a fine from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the possibility of being banned from the 2015 tournament.
The qualifying competition for next year’s Nations Cup in South Africa starts less than two weeks before the 2012 finals, which are being played in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon from Jan. 21-Feb. 14.
From next year, the biennial tournament will shift from even to odd years to avoid clashing with the World Cup.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Knysna, South Africa; Editing by John O’Brien; To comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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