African pair pull out of qualifying race
© AFP

São Tomé e Príncipe and the Central African Republic will not be taking part in the African qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, after their respective national associations announced on 31 August 2007 that they would not be entering the preliminary competition.

The first round of qualifying was scheduled to feature two-legged ties between the ten African member associations currently lowest in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, a number which includes São Tomé e Príncipe and the Central African Republic. In an effort to maintain the same format for the second round of African Zone qualifiers, and after discussions with the African Football Confederation, FIFA decided to award a first-round bye to the two highest-placed countries in the July 2007 edition of the rankings. Swaziland and Seychelles, who share 147 th spot, are the two beneficiaries.

As a consequence of this reshuffle, the opponents of the two teams to be given a bye will face now each other for a second-round berth. Somalia and Djibouti, who were set to play Swaziland and Seychelles over two legs, will instead play a one-off qualifying match on 17 November.

After the withdrawals of São Tomé e Príncipe and the Central African Republic, there will now be only three first-round ties rather than the five initially scheduled.

First round of African Zone qualification matches
Madagascar - Comoros
(first leg - 13 October 2007, Second leg - 17 November 2007)
Sierra Leone - Guinea Bissau (first leg - 14 October 2007, second leg - 17 November 2007)
Djibouti - Somalia (single match play-off in Djibouti, 17 November 2007)