Friday, June 5, 2009

Final Phase of African World Cup Qualifying Continues


Africa's road to the 2010 World Cup heats up this weekend with a full slate of action as countries compete for the 5 available spots in South Africa.

There are already some teams in trouble.

Like Cameroon and Morocco, who have collectively qualified for nine previous World Cup finals. Also in peril are reigning African champions Egypt and the unpredictable Guinea, both of whom were expected to feature among the serious contenders for the finals.

The first match day in March provided a host of surprises. With two more matches in quick succession this month, the picture could soon become a lot clearer.

Both Cameroon and Morocco were humbled in their opening group outings and now go head-to-head in Yaoundé on Sunday. Egypt, having dropped potentially vital points at home, seek to revive their campaign away against long-standing rivals Algeria.

Guinea hope to overturn a run of five successive defeats in head-to-head matches with Ivory Coast when they host a Group E tie in Cotonou, also on Sunday.

Of particular interest is the Group B clash between Kenya and Nigeria.

Nigeria's Super Eagles came under heavy criticism following their opening draw with Mozambique but their recent friendly win over France has restored morale.

Now they are at home against Kenya, whose own build-up has been disrupted by a pay dispute between their coach Antoine Hey and Football Kenya Ltd., which runs the game in the country.

The team left for Nigeria without him but he is now on his way.

Hey is planning to exploit the perceived differences within the Nigeria camp.

"I think they [Nigeria] are very much under pressure at home after the result in Mozambique," Hey said. "We will try and get a result that no-one is expecting," he told the BBC.

Here are the current African qualifying standings.

Over in Group D, Ghana were at the World Cup in Germany and the Black Stars gained a taste for the biggest stage.

They started this round of qualifying with a win but will be missing a series of high-profile players in their squad for a trip to Mali.

Sulley Muntari, Stephen Appiah, Derek Boateng, Asamoah Gyan and Laryea Kingston are all out of action.

Mali's coach Stephen Keshi will have high hopes of securing a valuable win as he goes into the game with a fully fit squad.

In the other match in this group, Benin host Sudan, who must turn themselves around after a heavy 4-0 defeat in a friendly international against Tunisia.

Benin are hopeful of continuing the good form they showed in the previous round, after their narrow defeat by Ghana.

Squirrels' midfielder Romauld Boco says the team are in good spirits.

"We have played a lot better in the last 5 years, [because] we are the same group of players and we know each other very well," he told the BBC.

"The game against Sudan is the most important game for us."

The top team in each group goes to the World Cup.

Here are all the matches scheduled for this weekend:
Saturday 6 June
Zambia-Rwanda, Malawi-Burkina Faso, Gabon-Togo, Tunisia-Mozambique

Sunday 7 June

Cameroon-Morocco, Benin-Sudan, Nigeria-Kenya, Guinea-Cote d'Ivoire, Mali-Ghana, Algeria-Egypt

15 comments:

One_Part said...

I my self am looking forward to the football in june....confederations cup and world cup qualifying.

looking forward for the qualifying to get back in action iv followed every continents qualifying roots and now is getting to there conclusions. May see the first qualifyers for the final Autralia and Netherlands.

Iv been loving the Fifa world cup 2010! since the starting qualifyers back in Oceania Samoa.

And i really like ur blog since i discovered it a while ago, one of my favs.

Cesar said...

Thanks One_Part! I appreciate your words! :)

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