Harare – Southern Africa remains one of the most poorly represented zones at the FIFA Soccer World Cup, with South Africa and Angola the only teams from the region to ever qualify for the global showcase.
For the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, seven national sides are vying for places, and the next step of the qualification process begins this week with Angola, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and all looking for positive results.
The Confederation of African Football has placed teams in 10 groups of four sides each, with group winners advancing to a final qualification round. The 10 group winners will be against each other in five pairings to decide the quintet that will make it to Qatar.
And some teams from the Council of Southern African Football Associations are going to cancel each other out, as South Africa and Zimbabwe clash this Friday in Harare.
But it is Namibia who get the ball rolling for the Southern Africa contingent on Thursday when they host Congo at Orlando Stadium in South Africa. Namibia is playing its “home” matches in South Africa after CAF blacklisted its arenas as below international standards.
Madagascar host Benin, while Angola are away to Egypt on Thursday; with Mozambique entertaining Cote d’Ivoire on Friday. On the same day, Malawi are away to Cameroon.
All teams play their second group games by September 8 before the international break closes.
September 1: CAR v Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau v Guinea, Senegal v Togo, Mali v Rwanda, Libya v Gabon
September 2: Kenya v Uganda, DRC v Tanzania, Niger v Burkina Faso, Namibia v Congo, Madagascar v Benin, Egypt v Angola, Algeria v Djibouti, Morocco v Sudan
September 3: Mozambique v Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe v South Africa, Nigeria v Liberia, Mauritania v Zambia, Tunisia v Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon v Malawi, Ghana v Ethiopia
September 5: Rwanda v Kenya