The World Cup qualifier that will be played in the CAF Russia 2018 World Cup will not give qualification to any team. Winning for nations like Egypt, Nigeria and Ivory Coast will only put them in the right frame of mind to cling the tickets for their various groups if they win their next matches in Groups E, B and C respectively.
However, Tunisia, DR. Congo, Burkina Faso and South Africa will be making firm decisions today, to decide if they position themselves to get a share in the remaining two slots that will be available in the five berths allocated to CAF for Groups A and D respectively.
Sport Intelligence brings you a review of fifa.com’s analysis on the position of the various group standings for the 20 African teams that are contending to secure a spot for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Group A: As it stands
Having both made perfect starts after two games, Tunisia and Congo DR meet in Rades for the first instalment of a crucial double-header. This match, and the return encounter in Kinshasa four days later, could play a key role in deciding who travels to Russia – not that rival duo Guinea and Libya have given up hope. The section stragglers will lock horns desperate to keep themselves in the hunt with a first win, or at least avoid a defeat that would surely leave them plotting a better outcome ahead of Qatar 2022.
Group B: As it stands
Nigeria raced out of the blocks with two wins from two games and already boast a four-point lead over Cameroon, who kicked off with a pair of draws. The Super Eagles can now bolster their advantage at home to their closest pursuers, knowing victory would ease the pressure for their trip to face the Indomitable Lions a few days later. The pressure on Algeria is mounting, in contrast, and they can ill afford any further slips if they hope to reach a third consecutive World Cup – starting away to Zambia.
Group C: As it stands
Côte d’Ivoire are the sole team to have posted a win so far in this evenly balanced group, having seen off Mali to take early command. Les Elephants hold top spot on four points, but that could all change quickly if they lose away to Gabon, with both the Panthers and Morocco – who tackle Mali – able to leapfrog them in the standings. It all adds up to a tight situation, and the tension only looks set to increase once the dust has settled.
Group D: As it stands
Section favourites Senegal lost in South Africa last time out and will be keen to bounce back at home to Burkina Faso, who have quietly risen to the summit thanks to a better goal difference than Bafana Bafana. Eager to live up to their billing, Senegal are now bent on grabbing an eye-catching triumph, while South Africa hope to maintain momentum with victory away to Cape Verde Islands, beaten in their opening two games.
Group D: As it stands
Continental heavyweights Egypt have grown weary of missing out on the World Cup since 1990, but that spell on the sidelines could be about to end. With Argentinian coach Hector Cuper at the reins, the Pharaohs can take another big step back towards the promised land with a win away to nearest rivals Uganda, though not everyone hopes they prevail. Fellow big guns Ghana need the section leaders to drop points while plotting a perfect course through their own qualifiers, beginning with a home victory against Congo.