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The third edition of Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) World Football Cup is set to kick off on Thursday 31 May 2018 in London.

Abkhazia, a partially-recognised territory claimed by Georgia, will be looking to defend their CONIFA World Football Cup title after winning the last edition in spectacular scenes on home-soil in 2016.

The Paddy Power sponsored tournament is being hosted by an African “state”, Barawa which most of it players are drawn from the Somali diaspora in England, hence why they are considered hosts in a tournament that is being played in stadiums across London.

Enfield Town, Carshalton Athletic, Haringey Borough, Aveley, Bracknell Town and Bedfont Sports will all host matches with the final set to be played 9th June.

CONIFA President, Per-Adres Blind has already sent a welcome message to all the participating 16 teams representing 334 million people across five continents to London few hours before the opening ceremony.

“We are excited to be able to host our largest ever tournament in Greater London, not only the historic home of the beautiful game but a vibrant and international city that welcomes people from all corners of the globe,” he said.

“With some teams based in the United Kingdom, some having large diaspora communities here and plenty of neutral favourites, we are confident of support from the London community.”

Africa is being represented by three nations including hosts Barawa, Kabylia and Matebeleland with the hosts scheduled to play their first World Football Cup game against Tamil Eelam on 31 May at Hayes Lane, home of Bromley FC, before further group stage games scheduled against Cascadia and Ellan Vannin.

CONIFA is the international football confederation for teams not part of FIFA. Its members include states, partially-recognised states, regions, minority groups and sports-isolated territories.

The groupings:

Group 1: Barawa, Ellan Vannin, Tamil Eelam, Cascadia
Group 2: Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Karpatalya, Tibet
Group 3: Padania, Székely Land, Tuvalu, Matabeleland
Group 4: Panjab, United Koreans in Japan, Western Armenia, Kabylia

A lover of African football who boasts experience in journalism, having previously worked at Brand Agenda Publications, East Africa University News and University Post in Uganda before moving to Soka25east.com. On Twitter @fgchuma

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