The stage is set for the next round of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers for Africa and the regular suspects, more than surprise names, have emerged.
In games played across the continent on Tuesday, different teams emerged with the points needed to progress while it proved to be a disappointing turn of events for some others.
In Douala, where Cameroon played hosts to Ivory Coast, the Lions proved Indomitable as they stole a 1-0 victory over their opponents courtesy of a Toko Ekambi winner. The Ivorians huffed and puffed and rallied for a late equaliser, which would have been enough to grant them passage, but the Cameroonians stayed resolute in the face of adversity. Players and staff of the Cote D’Ivoire national team were gutted, as they will not make it to the World Cup for the second straight tournament after missing out on the 2018 edition in Russia. Star-spangled, the talents on display for the Ivorians didn’t prove to be enough fuel to power their engine past a difficult phase.
Cameroon, hosts of the 2022 AFCON will have to face a yet-to-be-decided opponent in the final playoffs to determine if they’ll represent Africa in Qatar.
Algeria also overcame Burkina Faso to book their place in the next round of the qualifiers. A dramatic contest saw the Algerians accuse the Stallions of using black magic in the game which ended 2-2, a result that proved enough for the North Africans to progress to the playoffs.
Nigeria suffered a scare against Cape Verde in Lagos, as the Super Eagles struggled to convince the home crowd. The disappointment of the last time in Lagos threatened to repeat itself as the Nigerians survived a scare to progress. A Victor Osimhen 1st minute goal was enough cushion to hold on to, but it lasted only six minutes before the Cape Verdeans fired back. Both teams had phases of dominance in the contest, but the Nigerians did enough to avoid lightning striking late as it did against the Central African Republic.
Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Tunisia and DR Congo complete the ten teams to vie for a place at the 2022 World Cups.
The top-five ranked African teams will be seeded for the draws, which is to be held on the 18th of December.
Senegal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Nigeria – who are the top 5 teams in Africa will be seeded against the other five teams for the playoffs.
Of the teams participating at the Playoffs, only DR Congo is not ranked in the top 10 on the continent according to the last FIFA ranking.
The battles to know Africa’s representatives at the World Cup will be decided in 2022.
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