The draw for the third round of qualifying in the African Zone for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ was made on Wednesday and FIFA.com reveals who takes on who in the five groups of four. The matches are scheduled to take place between March and November 2009.
Held at the governing body's headquarters in Zurich, the ceremony began with a welcome speech from FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who said: "This is a great day for FIFA. 2010 is the first FIFA World Cup taking place in Africa. It is also the first time in history that six African teams will play at a FIFA World Cup."
In response to the FIFA President's comments, CAF President Issa Hayatou praised Africa's organisation for the first and second stage of African qualifying. "I would like to thank all African countries, not only you who are qualified, but also to the participating teams, for making the competition run so smoothly," he said. "If you qualify, please celebrate and even if you lose, please celebrate, because you achieved a lot."
Coordinating the draw was Jim Brown, FIFA's Director of Competitions, while Mustapha Fahmy, the Secretary General of the Confederation of African Football, and Danny Jordaan, the Chief Executive Officer of the South Africa 2010 Organising Committee, were the men entrusted with the task of drawing the red and blue balls.
As the delegates of the qualifying nations looked on expectantly, the fate of the 20 teams was decided. Ahead of them now lies a nailbiting campaign that will see only the winners of the five groups advance to South Africa.
Cameroon were perhaps the unluckiest of the seeded teams, having been drawn against Togo, Morocco and Gabon in Group A. Their coach, the German Otto Pfister told FIFA.com after the draw: " As a matter of fact, we cannot afford to underestimate any team in our group, they are all strong.
It is indeed a very difficult group. We are the favourites on paper, but this doesnt mean too much.
"Togo have two or three really good players, and of course they have the experience of being part of Germany 2006. Morocco has great potential and also a very good coach. Gabon have proved lately how strong they are and what they are capable of. We need to prepare very seriously for this group."
In-depth analyses of each group will appear through the day.