Editorial — Football is believed to be the most popular sport on the planet when it comes to both participating in the game and enjoying it as a spectator. Many football competitions have been formed since this sport’s humble beginnings.
Unfortunately, the process of qualifying for some of the renowned tournaments is often difficult since the competition is fierce. For this reason, players from some clubs and countries have never had a chance to take part in any popular tournaments.
Luckily, the situation changed in 2013 when the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) was formed. Since 2014, CONIFA started organizing the CONIFA World Football Cup every two years for states, minorities, stateless peoples, and regions unaffiliated with FIFA.
The CONIFA 2020 Football World Cup is the fourth edition of this competition, and in this text, you will find all the details about it, as well as the teams that will participate.
Where and When Will CONIFA 2020 Be Held?
This international football tournament was initially supposed to be held in Somaliland, a self-declared state recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia. However, in August 2019, they withdrew as hosts of CONIFA 2020. Soon after that, North Macedonia was proclaimed the host of the tournament.
The competition is going to happen in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, in Tose Proeski Arena. It has been announced that the competition will start on May 30 and last until June 7.
A total of sixteen teams got a chance to demonstrate football skills and endurance in the group phase of the tournament in the draw held on the island of Jersey, in the Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa at the end of January.
The CONIFA World Football Cup follows standard procedures when it comes to the organization of the tournament. Therefore, the first phase of the competition will be in the form of a group stage.
There are four groups, each of which consists of four teams. The first two teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals, while the other two will find themselves in the placement rounds.
For some of the participants like Parishes of Jersey, Mapuche, Kernow and Australian First Nations, this competition will be a debut.
Let’s take a look at the groups and all sixteen contenders for the CONIFA 2020 World Football Cup title.
In Group A, Parishes of Jersey is the team that will participate in the competition for the first time. It is facing the Panjab team formed in the UK to represent the Punjabi diaspora, Kurdistan, and the team from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile, Group B also includes four teams: Kárpátalja, a Hungarian minority, Western Armenia, Sri Lankan independent state Tamil Eelam, and Kabylia from North Algeria.
The third group is Group C in which we have three debuting teams: the South American team called Mapuche, Kernow, a team coming from a ceremonial county in South West England, and the Australian First Nations. Matabeleland, the only team in this group that is not debuting this year, comes from the western part of Zimbabwe.
Last but not least, we have Group D that’s as mixed as all the previous three groups. There is South Ossetia from the northern part of Georgian territory and Cascadia that comes from the region of the United States and Canada. United Koreans in Japan are a self-explanatory team, while the last contestant is Darfur United from a region in western Sudan.
CONIFA 2020 Predictions
Among all football competitions on the planet, this one might be the most difficult one to make predictions about. This is predominantly due to the fact that none of these teams have ever been mentioned in the media before. On top of that, they haven’t taken part in any prestigious tournaments.
However, even in this competition, many football experts decided to play it safe by highlighting the two British teams.
While it is true that England is a synonym for outstanding football, we shouldn’t underestimate other teams. Maybe the majority of people haven’t heard of these teams before, but after the CONIFA 2020 World Football Cup, some of these names will be remembered forever.
Main Photo: CONIFA/Alvaro Velazquez.