Windhoek - Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries will learn their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers group stage opponents next week when the draw is conducted for the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
CAF said the draw will take place on 21 January at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Cairo, Egypt.
The draw is for the second round, which will see Africa’s 26 top-seeded teams joined by the 14 winners from the first round. All teams will then be entered into 10 groups comprising of four teams with only the group winners advancing to the third round.
The 10 SADC member states who will be in next week’s draw are Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa, Zambia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, Angola, and Tanzania.
The third round will see the 10 group winners from the second round drawn into five home-and-away ties. The winners of each tie will advance to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
DRC is the highest ranked SADC country, ranked 10th in Africa, according to the latest rankings. South Africa is the second highest ranked at 13 followed by Zambia (19), Madagascar (21), Mozambique (24), Zimbabwe (27), Namibia (29), Malawi (31), Angola (32) while Tanzania is the least ranked country from SADC, ranked 36th in Africa.
It means that it’s likely that DRC will be the only country from SADC to be top seeded for the second round of qualifiers, possibly offering an easy qualifying group.
The second round of Africa’s qualifiers will kick off in March 2020 and will conclude in October 2021. In Round 3, which is scheduled for November 2021, the 10 group winners from Round 2 will be paired up for knockout matches, with the five winners securing a berth at Qatar 2022.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 will be played in Qatar between 21 November and 18 December 2022.