Qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ will soon be getting underway on the host continent. In October, Africa will be staging their first knockout matches - the first step on the road to South Africa 2010. Since the host nation have qualified automatically, there will be 52 countries taking part in three qualifying rounds, all of them hoping to secure one of five spots up for grabs.
The first round will see the ten African teams who were lowest in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in July 2007 take part in home-and-away matches. The first legs will be played on 13 October 2007, with the returns on 17 November 2007.
The five winners will then qualify for the second round, along with the remaining 43 member associations, including South Africa who, although already qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, will also take part in the group stages since these are also serve as a qualifying tournament for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. Should they progress to the third stage, South Africa will play in the relevant group and any points won will count towards the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers but not those for the FIFA World Cup™.
The 48 countries will be drawn in 12 groups of four, and they will play a mini-championship with home and away games against the other three teams. The group winners and the eight best second-placed teams will qualify for the third round. These 20 teams will then play in five groups of four, again in a mini-league format with home and away games. The five group winners will then qualify for South Africa 2010.