Giants enter Africa's race to Qatar

  • Second round of African qualifiers for Qatar 2022 set to start

  • Forty national teams vying for ten third-round places

  • Only group winners will qualify for final round

To the delight of football fans across the globe, September sees the return of the qualifying competitions for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

In Africa, this means the start of the second round of the preliminaries, which promises to be intense. Some 40 teams will be battling it out in ten groups, with only the section winners advancing to the third and final round, which will decide which five teams go on to the world finals.

Matchday 1: An all-Arabian duel and a shot at revenge

The second round kicks off with a host of exciting matches, including the meeting between Senegal and Togo, a chance for the Lions of Teranga to avenge a famous, decisive defeat to the Sparrowhawks in the qualifiers for Germany 2006. Sadly for Togo, they will be without Hoffenheim winger Ihlas Bebou for their first two games.

Matchday 1 also features an exciting all-Arabian match-up between Morocco and Sudan. The Moroccans will be without Hakim Ziyech, who has been left out of the squad by coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

As for the Sudanese, they are on a high thanks in no small part to their French coach, Hubert Velud. As well as steering his team past South Africa and into the CAF Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in a long time, Velud has also taken them to this year’s FIFA Arab Cup.

Matchday 2: Algeria and Burkina Faso go again

Algeria entertain Djibouti in their opening match before travelling to Marrakech to take on Burkina Faso. The Stallions will be without the injured duo of Edmond Tapsoba and Bertrand Traore, while Charles Kabore and Alain Traore are both lacking match fitness. The match gives Burkina Faso a perfect opportunity to gain revenge for their defeat to the Desert Foxes in the qualifiers for Brazil 2014. Also on the bill is a mouth-watering meeting between Gabon and Egypt. Pharaohs coach Hossam Al Badry has announced that his two Premier League stars, Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Elneny, will miss the opening match against Angola but should be back to face the Gabonese.

The match

All eyes will be on Abidjan on 6 September, when Côte d’Ivoire host Cameroon, a game that will go a long way to deciding who goes through from Group D. Les Elephants begin their campaign in Mozambique, while the Indomitable Lions host Malawi.

The two heavyweights clashed memorably in the qualifiers for Germany 2006. Cameroon won in Côte d’Ivoire on that occasion only to then miss an injury-time penalty in a 1-1 draw with Egypt, a result that allowed the Elephants to pip them to a place in the world finals.

Toure Kolo Abib (L) of Ivory Coast vies with Webo Kouamo Pierre of Cameroon in a CAN-World Cup 2006 qualifier 04 September 2005 at Abidjan.

The quote

“There’s nothing more important in football than qualifying for a World Cup, whether you’re a player or a coach. We’ve got a strong squad with the experience of Russia 2018 behind it, but we’re not ruling out the possibility of switching formations. It just depends on what the opposition does. Angola have totally changed their style of play with their Portuguese coach. They’re a strong team, with three Premier League players and others who play in France, Portugal and Sweden.” Egypt coach Hossam Al Badry “Senegal are twice as strong as us at the moment. They’re the favourites and the best team in Africa right now, because they’ve got a lot of quality players. We know there’ll be a lot of pitfalls along the way, but we won’t have any pressure on us in the qualifiers. We’ll be doing all we can to get some good results.” Togo coach Paolo Duarte

The stat

13 - The number of African sides that have appeared at the World Cup, between France 1938 and Russia 2018, out of a total of 54 countries on the continent: Egypt, Morocco, Congo DR (formerly Zaire), Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, and Ghana.

Did you know?

The group winners will advance to the third and final round of qualifying, where they will be drawn into five two-legged ties, the winners of which will represent Africa at Qatar 2022.

Watch the games live!

40 FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers in Africa between 1-7 September will be live streamed on FIFATV’s YouTube Channel.

Each match will be available with English and French commentary, and there will also be 2 minute highlights available of every match (English commentary only), approximately two hours after each final whistle.

The live-stream of matches (due to broadcast media rights sold) will be unavailable to watch in the following 50 territories: Algeria, Angola, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo - Brazzaville, Croatia, Côte d’Ivoire, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Gabon, Ghana, Greenland, Guinea, Iceland, Indonesia, Kenya, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, United States, Vietnam..