Friday, March 27, 2009

African World Cup Qualifying


The final phase of African World Cup qualifying begins this weekend, with 20 teams competing for five positions at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

The five group winners are guaranteed a prestigious spot at Africa's first World Cup, while the top three in each group make it to January's African Cup of Nations in Angola.

Hosts South Africa, who don't need to qualify, must satisfy themselves with a friendly at home to Norway this weekend.

All but one of Africa's four representatives at the 2006 World Cup in Germany are still in contention, with the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Tunisia all playing in separate sections.

Angola are the only side who did not progress past the first group phase, which ended last October.

Getting back to the World Cup will not be easy for the four, as eager nations like Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria are all looking to occupy the spots.

The Egyptians, the reigning African champions, are confident they can make the cut, while Cameroon's Indomitable Lions will be out to extend their own record of qualifications by an African team to six.

The BBC has a thorough preview of African qualifying while Soccernet.com also has a wonderful preview.

What's the big match of the weekend, according to FIFA.com?

Togo-Cameroon, Saturday 28 March, 16.00 GMT, Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra (Ghana)
The much anticipated shoot-out between two of Africa's most prolific strikers now looks unlikely to take place. Samuel Eto'o is expected to line up for Cameroon, but Emmanuel Adebayor's participation is in doubt as he recovers from a hamstring injury. The Arsenal player was recently named African Footballer of the Year for 2008, while three-time recipient Eto'o is an early candidate for the 2009 award having scored an avalanche of goals for Barcelona in the Spanish La Liga.

Saturday's game will unfold in Accra, across the border from Togo, who are forced to play their home matches on neutral ground due to a ban. The Sparrow Hawks were surprise qualifiers for Germany 2006, but lost momentum by failing to reach the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Ghana 2008. Cameroon, meanwhile, won five out of their six matches in the first phase of the South Africa 2010 preliminaries, emphasising their status among the favourites to qualify.


Here are this weekend's matches. Enjoy!


African Zone qualifying, final phase, Matchday 1 fixtures

Saturday 28 March
Rwanda-Algeria
Togo-Cameroon
Kenya-Tunisia
Burkina Faso-Guinea
Morocco-Gabon
Sudan-Mali
Sunday 29 March
Mozambique-Nigeria
Ghana-Benin
Côte d'Ivoire -Malawi
Egypt-Zambia

6 comments:

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IGBOKWE NKEMAKONAM said...

Nice Blog...
Hope U get there (2010).

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From Cesar:

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