A 100 per cent record for Nigeria means they are on the brink of qualification for the third phase of the African Zone preliminaries for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. The heavily-fancied Super Eagles could make that a mathematical certainty with victory over Equatorial Guinea in Abuja on Saturday.
Cameroon are also close to securing progress, having amassed an unbeaten record to date, but for the rest of Groups 1 to 6 the tussle for places continues in the latest round of matches this coming weekend. FIFA.com looks ahead to a fourth successive weekend of games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Group 1: Cameroon are expected to inch closer to the mathematical certainty of qualification when they return home to meet Tanzania at the Ahmed Ahidjo stadium on Saturday. The Indomitable Lions lost their 100 per cent record to the Taifa Stars in a goalless draw in Dar-es-Salaam last weekend, but are likely to be much more forceful in front of their home fans. The Cape Verde Islands can keep themselves firmly rooted in second place if they beat Mauritius again on Sunday. Club M coach Ashok Cundasing says he will keep faith with Mauritius' young players, even if they were guilty of naivety in losing to the Cape Verdians in Curepipe last Sunday.
Group 2: Favourites Guinea began their campaign with mediocre results, but a 2-1 win in Namibia last Saturday has them back on track. But even then their veteran coach Robert Nouzaret believes they are not yet in the groove. "We just couldn't get our game going," he complained after the Windhoek match. The two sides meet again in Conakry, while Zimbabwe host Kenya in Harare. The Harambee Stars have proven their potential with two home wins, but away from home they have been less than convincing.
Group 3: A three-way tie at the head of the standings makes this weekend's matches in Cotonou and Luanda vital. Uganda hope to have Godfrey Massa back for their match against Germany 2006 qualifiers Angola, whose Swiss-based defender Kali is unavailable as he heads off to get married. Benin beat Niger 2-0 away last weekend, and now with home advantage will be confident of a third successive win in the group. The match will mark a home debut for Benin's new coach Michel Dussuyer.
Group 4: Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu bemoaned what he called a laboured win - 1-0 in Equatorial Guinea - last weekend, but the return game in Abuja on Saturday could turn into a goal-fest, particularly if Nwankwo Kanu recovers from a bout of flu and John Obi Mikel regains fitness after a fever. South Africa return home seeking to restore some of their battered reputation after a disappointing loss to Sierra Leone. The two sides meet again in Pretoria, with the Bafana Bafana likely to have captain Aaron Mokoena back in defence after injury ruled him out of the last game.
Group 5: Ghana have added two new defenders, Issah Ahmed and John Boye, to shore up their squad for the return match against Gabon in Accra on Sunday, seeking to keep the unpredictable Pantheres at bay. Gabon won 2-0 last Saturday to record their first points of the qualification campaign. Libya can win their third successive game if they beat Lesotho in Tripoli on Friday, giving added momentum to their chances of progress to the next phase.
Group 6: Two successive draws, albeit away from home, have irritated Senegal coach Lamine Ndiaye, particularly after they blew a 2-0 lead in Liberia last Sunday. He has also lost two fullbacks for their rematch in Dakar on Saturday. Ibrahima Faye is suspended, and Pape Waigo Ndiaye injured. Algeria's continued hopes rest on winning against Gambia in Blida on Friday after losing 1-0 in Banjul last weekend. Says Gambia's new coach Paul Put: "I have to be proud of my players for what they have been doing. What I saw after only three weeks is unbelievable, so I am very, very happy."