Nigeria has been handed a relatively straightforward group in the second phase of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) 2022 World Cup Qualifiers in draws held on Tuesday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, Cairo, Egypt.
The Super Eagles were drawn alongside Cape Verde, the Central African Republic and Liberia in a pool many will feel should present few problems for the three-time African champions.
Gernot Rohr couldn’t have wished for a kinder draw with Cape Verde who are ranked 78th in the FIFA rankings, Central African Republic (109), and Liberia (152) unlikely to pose significant threats to Nigeria.
The Super Eagles and Liberia have a bit of history in world cup qualifying having faced off during qualifying for the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea.
The Lone stars edged the Super Eagles by two goals to one in Monrovia, before the Super Eagles earned a 2-0 win with goals from Nwankwo Kanu and Victor Agali at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt.
While Nigeria can take delight in being given a kind draw, there will be major concerns for 2021 AFCON hosts Cameroon who hold the record for the most World Cup appearances for an African country.
The Indomitable Lions have been paired with Cote d’Ivoire in Group D meaning one of the two giants will not be in Qatar.
Similarly, Ghana and South Africa will battle for the right to emerge from Group G while AFCON champions, Algeria should have enough to navigate past Burkina Faso, Niger and Djibouti in Group A.
Other heavyweights such as Senegal and Egypt will take on less-fancied nations.
All five African teams failed to reach the knockout stage of the 2018 World Cup, the first time that had happened since 1982.
The ten group winners will advance to the third round where they will be paired in a two-legged playoff.
The five winners from that round will secure berths to the 2022 World Cup.