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Libya, Ivory Coast cede home advantage in Nations Cup


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -- Both Libya and the Ivory Coast must play scheduled African Nations Cup qualifiers on neutral turf this weekend because of the precarious security situation in their countries, CAF confirmed on Wednesday.

Libyan troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have been hit by air strikes by a western coalition since the weekend, prompting the Confederation of African Football to switch Libya's match against the Comoros Islands Tripoli to Bamako, Mali on Monday.

The Ivorians said last week they were not prepared to move their Group H match against Benin from Abidjan in spite of growing violence which has resulted in around 400 deaths and since the disputed November election outcome.

However, CAF has now ordered them to play the tie in neighbouring Ghana. It will be held in Accra on Sunday.

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There are 21 qualifying matches across the continent this weekend as the preliminaries for the 2012 finals, co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, reach the halfway stage.

The Ivory Coast have also switched a qualifying match for the under-23 side, bidding for a place at the football tournament at the London Olympics, to Ghana this weekend.