Windhoek - The draw for the second round of African qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which took place on 21 January in Cairo, Egypt, has brought up tricky opponents for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
In the draw, 10 SADC member states who learnt their fate are Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa, Zambia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, Angola, and Tanzania.
In group B, former African champions, Zambia, will have to battle Tunisia for top spot in a group which will also see them play against Mauritania and tricky Equatorial Guinea. In Group D, the two southerners Malawi and Mozambique will battle two African giants Cameroon and Cote D’Ivoire.
In Group F, Angola will battle Egypt, Gabon, and Libya. Tricky encounters are expected to ensure in Group G, as neighbours South Africa and Zimbabwe face each other as well as Ethiopia and powerhouse Ghana.
Namibia, in Group H, face a daunting task to keep Senegal, Congo and Togo at bay. Namibia will have to be content with current African player of the year, Sadio Mane, when they take on Senegal.
A total of 54 African nations will take part in the qualifying phase of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, but only five of them will get to represent their continent at the next edition of football’s flagship event. After the first round of fixtures, played in September 2019, 40 selections are still in the running to represent the Mother Continent in Qatar.
- The 14 first-round winners join the top 26 African teams (based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of December 2019) in the second round.
- These 40 teams were divided into 10 groups of four.
- In each group, the teams will play each other home and away in a mini-league format.
- The 10 group winners will progress to the third and final round, which will feature five two-legged play-off ties.
- The five winners of these play-offs qualify for Qatar 2022.
Did you know?
- Thirteen African teams have already taken part in the World Cup, and they are all still in the running to grace the 2022 edition: these are South Africa, Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Congo DR, Senegal, Tunisia and Togo.
- The first appearance by an African nation at the World Cup was in 1934, when Egypt participated in that edition hosted by Italy.
- Cameroon are the CAF team with the most appearances in the competition (7), ahead of Nigeria (6), and Morocco and Tunisia (5). In terms of games won, Nigeria leads the way with six wins from 21 matches, ahead of Ghana (4/12), Cameroon (4/23), Senegal (3/8) and Algeria (3/13).
- The furthest any African team has gone at the World Cup is the quarter-finals. Cameroon were the first to do so in 1990, before Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) emulated the feat.
- Africa's top scorers at the World Cup are Ghana's Asamoah Gyan (6), Cameroon's Roger Milla (5) and Nigeria's Ahmed Musa (4).
- At the most recent edition in 2018, Africa was represented by Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia. – additional reporting by FIFA.com