20 countries are still in the hunt for the exclusive (5) slots reserved for teams which are members of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Russia.
The qualifiers which started 7 October 2015 – 6 November 2017, is in the third/final round where group winners automatically advance to the quadrennial football showpiece.
Blockbuster fixtures aligned for supporters, nothing but passionate display is guaranteed when these teams take on to the pitch.
DR Congo and Tunisia are joint top with 6 points respectively, while Guinea and Libya stay nil.
August 31: Guinea vs Libya; match to be played at Stade du 28 Septembre, Conakry. Referee: Hassan Mohamed Hagi (Somalia)
1 September: Tunisia vs DR Congo; unarguably the biggest fixture in the group. It takes place at Stade 7 November, Radès. Referee: Eric Otogo-Castane (Gabon)
Nigeria remains unbeaten, amassing maximum points (6) after her first two games in the group. Cameroon and Zambia both on (2pts), Algeria bottom with (1pt).
1 September: Nigeria vs Cameroon; the most talked about tie this match week for obvious reasons. The rivalry dates back to when the Eagles were green.
As it’s been of late, the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo will be the venue for this battle. Referee: Gehad Grisha (Egypt).
2 September: Zambia vs Algeria; the Chipolopolo could end the hopes of the desert foxes appearing at the World Cup with a home win.
The fans surely would gather at the National Heroes Stadium, Lusaka, to cheer a team led by Kalaba to become real heroes. Referee: Hélder Martins de Carvalho (Angola).
The elephants have trampled on oppositions put before them in their quest to record another appearance at the World Cup. They lead the group with (4pts). Morocco and Gabon are second and third respectively (2pts), Mali fourth (1pt).
1 September: Morocco vs Mali; expected by a few to likely be the end of the road for the Malians. Stade Moulay Abdellah, Rabat, to host the match. Referee: Sidi Alioum (Cameroon)
2 September: Gabon vs Ivory Coast; one of the highly unpredictable tie. A win for Ivory Coast at Stade de Franceville, Franceville, solidifies their grip to finish top of the group. Referee: Bamlak Tessema Weyesa (Ethiopia)
To all teams in this group, nothing is sure as they all can still qualify to Russia 2018. Burkina Faso currently first with (4pts), same as South Africa who are second. Senegal (3pts), and Cape Verde (0pt).
1 September: Cape Verde vs South Africa; to be played at the Estádio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia. Referee: Mehdi Abid Charef (Algeria)
2 September: Senegal vs Burkina Faso at Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor, Dakar, will have the continent watching. If there was ever a time for the Teranga Lions to match up, it’s now. Referee: Joshua Bondo (Botswana)
Obviously the group of “Death”, which only one team would come out “alive”. Egypt top with (6pts), Uganda (4pts), Ghana (1pt), Congo (0pt).
31 August: Uganda vs Egypt; The cranes are without their tactical mastermind “Micho”, who resigned his position as coach last month over irreconcilable differences with UFA. This technical change on paper might fan the hopes of the opposition – but not without a fight will the cranes allow the Egyptians take anything (if any)
This technical change on paper might fan the hopes of the opposition – but not without a fight will the cranes allow the Egyptians take anything (if any) from the Mandela National Stadium, Kampala. Referee: Ali Lemghaifry (Mauritania)
1 September: Ghana vs Congo; It would be an understatement to use disappointing in line with performances of the Ghanaians.
Picking just one point after two ‘winnable’ games makes qualification look bleak for the black stars. The venue for this reality check is the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi. Referee: Youssef Essrayri (Tunisia)
54 teams started the series, 86 matches played with 205 goals scored. An average of 2 goals per match.
Top scorers in this stage of qualifiers: All on 2 goals.
Dieumerci Mbokani (DRC)
Abdallah Said (Egypt)
Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
Victor Moses (Nigeria)
Collins Mbesuma (Zambia)