Johannesburg - FIFA has moved a World Cup 201 preliminary round tie from the Central African Republic to Madagascar for safety reasons due to clashes in Bangui that led to around 40 deaths last week.
The Central African Republic were to host Madagascar in Bangui next Saturday in the first of a two-legged tie with the return in the Malagasy capital Antananarivo on October 13.
FIFA said both matches will now be played in Madagascar.
Qualifiers in Africa for the 2018 World Cup begin on Wednesday.
Armed gangs have ransacked dozens of compounds belonging to international organisations in the Central African Republic since violence flared last weekend, and machete-wielding militia were blocking roads, humanitarian workers said.
More than 42 000 people have been displaced by the latest violence, the worst the capital has seen this year, many of them in urgent need of shelter and basic healthcare, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement this week.
The Central African Republic were also forced to cede home advantage during the last World Cup qualifying campaign when rebel attacks on Bangui led to the overthrow of the government in 2013.
Two other African countries are also unable to play their World Cup qualifiers at home next week.
Somalia, who have not played at home since October 1986 due to the conflict in the Horn of Africa, host Niger in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Friday with the return leg of the preliminary round tie in Niamey four days later.
Sierra Leone, still barred from hosting matches because of scares over the Ebola virus, are away in the first leg of their tie against Chad on Saturday and then host the return on October 13 in Port Harcourt in Nigeria.
It will be the second time that Sierra Leone have used the venue for one of their qualifiers. Last month they held African champions Ivory Coast to a goalless draw there in a 2017 African Nations Cup qualifier.