Nigeria’s Super Eagles will discover their opponents for the second phase of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) 2022 World Cup Qualifiers when the draws are held on Tuesday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Cairo, Egypt.
However, unlike in previous occasions, news reports suggest that Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr will not be in Egypt after he was left out of the Nigerian contingent which arrived in Egypt on Monday.
Rohr’s omission from the Nigerian contingent raised eyebrows but sources close to the former Bordeaux coach say he is currently at home in France recuperating from dental surgery to remove his wisdom teeth.
The German has six months left on his contract and is free to negotiate with other parties and although the NFF has spoken of offering him an extension, it is yet unclear if they have followed through with an offer.
Tuesday’s draws herald the second phase of Africa’s three-phased qualifying campaign and will feature 4o teams made up of 14 teams from the first qualifying round and the 26 highest ranked African nations.
All 40 participating teams have been divided into four different pots of 10 teams with each team positioned according to their ranking in the latest FIFA World Rankings released in December.
As such the Super Eagles who are ranked 31st in the world and 3rd on the continent have been placed in Pot 1 alongside other continental heavyweights including the four other nations that represented Africa at the last FIFA World Cup: Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Senegal.
Completing Pot 1 reigning CAF Africa Cup of Nations champions Algeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Congo DR and Mali.
Heavyweights Ivory Coast, South Africa and Burkina Faso occupy Pot 2 while Pots 3 and 4 are mostly populated by teams who participated in the first qualifying round.
The teams will be drawn into 10 groups of four teams with one team drawn from each Pot.
All four teams will play each other home and away in a mini-league format.
The ten group winners will progress to the third and final round, which will feature five two-legged play-off ties. The five winners of these play-offs will qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Meanwhile, the decision by CAF to move the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations to January means the World Cup qualifying campaign which was originally scheduled for March will now kick-off in October.
Composition Of Pots for CAF 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
- Pot 1: Senegal, Tunisia, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco, Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, Mali, Congo DR
- Pot 2: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa, Guinea, Uganda, Cape Verde, Gabon, Benin, Zambia, Congo
- Pot 3: Madagascar, Mauritania, Libya, Mozambique, Kenya, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Niger, Namibia, Guinea-Bissau
- Pot 4: Malawi, Angola, Togo, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Djibouti