CAF 2022 World Cup Qualifier Teams Lined Up for Battle
The FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifier competitions held by the six football confederations for Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, South America, North, Central America, and the Caribbean are in the final stages. Direct qualification spots will be decided by the end of March 2022. The CAF qualifiers tournament will complete its third and final round over the next international window from March 24th to 29th. In preparation for Round Three, the ten winners from Round Two have been drawn into five two-legged home and away ties. The five winners from each tie will take their place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. So, let’s have a look at who will be playing who…
Round Three Ties
The ten remaining African nations battling for just five places at the 2022 World Cup were recently drawn into five ties. The ten teams were seeded 1-10 based on their November 2021 FIFA ranking before the draw. The top five teams - Senegal (20), Morocco (28), Algeria (29), Tunisia (30) and Nigeria (36) - were allocated to Pot 1. The bottom five teams - Egypt (46), Cameroon (50), Ghana (52), Mail (53) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (64) - were allocated to Pot 2. From there, a random draw between the Pots determined the five ties:
- Senegal vs Egypt
- Leg 1: Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt, 24-26th March
- Leg 2: Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor, Dakar, Senegal, 27-29th March
Senegal is the continent's top-ranked team and one of only three African nations to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. They have appeared at the World Cup just twice; in 2002, they reached the quarter-finals (losing out to Turkey) and in 2018, the Group Stage only. However, the current squad has just won the Africa Cup of Nations 2021, coming second to Algeria in 2019. The 2021 tournament saw them beat Egypt in the final on penalties. In March, the battle between the two may stir up some unfinished business to make for some thrilling action on the pitch.
Egypt has graced the World Cup pitches on three occasions, in 1934 (the first African nation to appear at the tournament), 1990 and 2018. The Egyptians have never moved past the Group Stage of the competition to date. At home, The Pharaohs have won the African Cup of Nations title seven times, the last in 2010.
- Cameroon vs Algeria
- Leg 1: Olembe Stadium, Yaoundé, Cameroon, 24-26th March
- Leg 2: Mustapha Tchaker Stadium, Blida, Alergia, 27-29th March
Cameroon was the first African team to reach the quarter-finals of a World Cup tournament. In 1990, the Indomitable Lions beat Argentina, Romania and Colombia before England's Three Lions eliminated them. In addition to their 1990 appearance, Cameroon have qualified for the competition on six other occasions (1982, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014). They have also lifted the African Nations Cup five times, the last in 2017 - they came third in 2019.
Algeria, Africa's third top football team and 2019's African Cup of Nations winner, has qualified four times for the World Cup. The Foxes were at the tournament in 1982, 1986, 2010 and 2014. The highest the Algerians have ever progressed was the Round of 16 at their last appearance in 2014.
- Ghana vs Nigeria
- Leg 1: Cape Coast Sports Stadium, Cape Coast, Ghana, 24-26th March
- Leg 2: Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria, 27-29th March
Ghana made their first of three World Cup appearances in 2006. Since then, the Ghanaians have joined the tournament in 2010 and 2014. In 2010, they were the third African nation to reach the games quarter-finals, only to be eliminated by Uruguay on penalties. The Black Stars have also won the African Nations Cup on four occasions, the last being in 1982. More recently, the current squad came fourth in 2017.
Nigeria has made it to the World Cup for the last three consecutive events (2010, 2014 and 2018); before that, they also made appearances in 1994, 1998 and 2002. Their best performances were in 1994, 1998 and 2014, when they reached the Round of 16. The Super Eagles have won the African Nations three times. The last time they lifted the Cup was in 2013. However, the current squad achieved third place in 2019.
- DR Congo vs Morocco
- Leg 1: Stade des Martyrs, Kinshasa, DR Congo, 24-26th March
- Leg 2: Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Rabat, Morocco, 27-29th March
DR Congo have only made one appearance at the World Cup, in 1974 as Zaire. During their 1974 outing, the team only made it as far as the Group Stage. At the African Nations, the Red Devils have triumphed at the competition twice - their last victory also in 1974. More recently, they reached third place in 2015.
Morocco, in 1986, were the first African team to progress past the Group Stage at the World Cup. In a group with England, Poland and Portugal, the Moroccans drew against England and Poland and beat Portugal to move up to the Round of 16 at the top of the standings. They were knocked out of the next stage by West Germany. At home, they were winners of the African Nations in 1976. Their best position this century was second place in 2004.
- Mali vs Tunisia
- Leg 1: Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako, Mali, 24-26th March
- Leg 2: Stade Hammadi Agrebi, Tunis, Tunisia, 27-29th March
Mali, relative minnows of the 2022 qualifiers, have never qualified for a World Cup tournament. If they manage to win over Tunisia, Africa's fourth-best team, the team will be changing the course of their own history. While never qualifying for the World Cup, the Eagles have reached third place at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions (2012/2013) and fourth place on three occasions (1994, 2002 and 2004).
FIFA's top 30th ranked team, Tunisia, has qualified for the World Cup tournament five times, most recently in 2018. Beginning in 1978, the Moroccans also made appearances in 1998, 2002 and 2006. The furthest the Atlas Lions have ever reached is the Group Stage. On a continental level, the Lions have won the African Nations just once in 2004. In 2019, the team made it to fourth place, losing out to Senegal 1-0.
New Zealand routed the Solomon Islands in the final of the Oceania qualifiers to reach the World Cup playoffs and for a chance to be at the 2022 tournament.
In Asia's final qualifier games, the UAE and Australia won their spots in a sudden-death match against one another for a chance at the inter-confederation playoffs.
A football milestone is on the horizon in Qatar. The 50th Amir Cup Final will kick-off at World Cup venue, Khalifa International Stadium, in just ten days.
Located along a beachfront promenade, in a traditional Qatari souq, the England National Team have requested Al Wakra for their Team Base Camp during the World Cup.