The draw for the third and final round of the African qualifying competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ took place at the headquarters of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Monday.
Attending the event was FIFA Director of Competitions Mustapha Fahmy and CAF President and FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou, who were joined a number of coaches and representatives of the national teams participating in the draw, among them Bob Bradley and Paul Put, the head coaches of Egypt and Burkina Faso respectively.
The draw was conducted by Gordon Savic, Head of Olympic and FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
The three Arab sides who went into the hat avoided each other in a typically suspenseful draw. Egypt were handed a tie against Ghana, while Tunisia will face Cameroon and Algeria will take on 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations runners-up Burkina Faso.
In the two other ties African champions Nigeria will lock horns with surprise package Ethiopia, while Côte d’Ivoire will square off with Senegal. The winners of each tie will qualify for Brazil 2014.
The dates of the first and second legs were also determined. The first-leg matches will take place between 11 and 15 October, with the return matches being played between 15 and 19 November. The ten national federations involved must specify the venue and exact date of the matches they will host before Friday 20 September.
Responding to the draw, Egypt boss Bradley said he was happy to be playing the second leg of their tie with Ghana at home: “I wasn’t really bothered about avoiding one team in particular. All I wanted was for us to play the second leg at home.
"The authorities now have the chance to sort out the problems the country is facing, and I hope with all my heart that the match will be played at Cairo International Stadium in front of our fantastic fans. My sole objective is to reach Brazil 2014 and I want to do it for the people of Egypt.”
Algerian Football Association President and FIFA Executive Committee member Mohamed Raouraoua was a relieved man afterwards. Explaining why, he said: “I didn’t want to see a tie between two Arab countries because of all the political tension at the moment, so I’m happy with the draw.
"We are going to give the Algeria team all the support they need to qualify. There’s not much to choose between any of the sides and we’ll be preparing for Burkina Faso just as we would against anyone else.”
Stallions coach Put also gave his reaction to Monday’s draw: “We’ll be hosting Algeria in the first leg, and they’re a strong and experienced team. We need to get our preparations spot on and get a good result in that first game. It won’t be easy for us and we need to show the form we produced at the end of the previous round.
"There’s no pressure on us, though, and I’m sure the supporters will get behind us and help us win the first match so we can go to Algeria in the best possible position. We are going to prepare as well as we can for the two games and we know that nothing is impossible in football.”
Following the draw, Savic reminded the ten participating teams of the need to respect fair play and FIFA’s principles in contesting the ties: “We are going to see some very fine matches, as we always do with African teams. FIFA would like to offer its assistance in the organisation of these games but demands in return that each match be played in a sporting spirit.”
The draw for Round 3 of the African qualifying competition for Brazil 2014 is as follows (teams drawn first will host the first leg):