2026 World Cup - African qualifiers

Euro 2024, World Cup 2026, etc.
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Post by SimonB »

Benin beating Nigeria looks a bit of a surprise to me although it is between two neighbours they both had to travel west for the match. Nigeria had some good teams in the past.
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Post by amenina »

SimonB wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 11:03 Benin beating Nigeria looks a bit of a surprise to me although it is between two neighbours they both had to travel west for the match. Nigeria had some good teams in the past.
And Benin are coached by Gernot Rohr, who was fired by Nigeria a few years ago, so it was sweet revenge for him.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/arti ... 77e6lgx01o
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Post by amenina »

Matchday 4 fixtures, Tuesday 11 June


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Post by Lorric »

Mali could not defeat Madagascar despite Madagascar getting a straight red at 16'. 0-0 FT.
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Post by amenina »

Lorric wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 17:02 Mali could not defeat Madagascar despite Madagascar getting a straight red at 16'. 0-0 FT.
Mali are just throwing away their chance of qualification as the "top seed" in this group. Drew at home against Central African Republic, lost 1-2 after taking a 1-0 lead at home against one of the weakest Ghana team in recent history, and now this.

And Ivory Coast drew goalless away at Kenya, so this means the only team with a 100% record in Africa is Morocco. who will play their "away" match against Congo at home in Morocco later today. Looks like Congo will not forfeit this match, unlike their match against Niger last week: https://aujourdhui.ma/sports/eliminatoi ... -bien-lieu

And the most significant match that just finished was of course South Sudan 0-3 Sudan, for all the following reasons.

1. Their first "Sudan derby" (can we call it this?) that is played at one of the countries since the split, although the two teams did meet twice in the 2015 CECAFA Cup in Ethiopia. Obviously it is unlikely that the return match will actually be played in Sudan.

2. The reopening of the South Sudan National Stadium in Juba after renovation. For all the African countries which cannot play "home" matches at home due to poor stadiums, if South Sudan can do it, maybe they should be able to do it. Heck, it is such as grand occasion that even the "Supreme Leader" is there, and by that I mean Infantino: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 4570787148

3. And the win is important for Sudan in the standings, as they now retake the group lead with 10 points, 2 above Senegal and 3 above DR Congo. Great results so far for a country currently in civil war and have their domestic league stopped for over a year (I think their national team went to Saudi Arabia to train for a month). Their next match in March next year, at "home" against Senegal, will be a decisive match.
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Post by amenina »

Two other surprising group leaders, although both only on goal difference: Rwanda in Group C, tied on 7 points with South Africa and Benin, and Comoros in Group I, tied on 9 points with Ghana.
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Post by matt »

Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast and Tunisia are already with a foot in the World Cup.

Cameroon and Algeria are in a decent position, while Sudan, Rwanda and Comoros are surprisingly at the top (none of these were at the last African Cup). I doubt they will last. Senegal, Ghana and Southafrica seem like more likely candidates for the first spot.

So at the end we may not see huge surprises among qualified teams.

AFCON 2024:

Mali better than Ghana
Angola and Cape Verde better than Cameroon
Guinea better than Algeria

But in the WC campaign so far:

Ghana are better than Mali
Cameroon are better than Angola and Cape Verde
Algeria better than Guinea

So let's say that established values took over again after a crazy AFCON in January (though of course surprises are not absent in the WC qualifying, but maybe at the end they will evolve into nothing).
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Post by amenina »

So after the forfeit last week, Congo decided to play their second match, and proceeded to lose 0-6 to Morocco. Should have just forfeited again and that would have "improved" their goal difference by 3....

Gabon got the win against Gambia, and are now just 1 point behind Cote d'Ivoire, so Group F is far from over, with Burundi, who also won, 3 points behind the leaders.

Cameroon got a useful point at Angola after all the turmoil with their FA and head coach. Now with a 1-point lead, but there are 4 teams (Libya, Cabo Verde, Angola) within 2 points in Group D.

Another tight group is Group G. Algeria are leading by goal difference, but there are 5 teams within 3 points. The other three North African teams, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, as @matt said, are all very comfortable at the top of their groups.
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Post by amenina »

Standings after matchday 4


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Post by amenina »

https://www.ktpress.rw/2024/06/world-cu ... ead-coach/

World Cup Qualifier: Nigeria Parts Ways With Finidi George As Head Coach
written by Annet Mugabo June 13, 202411:02 pm

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has made a significant decision in response to disappointing results in the World Cup qualifiers, announcing the departure of Finidi George as head coach of the national team.

This decision made this June 13, 2024, comes after the Super Eagles failed to secure a victory in any of their four matches, leaving them in a precarious 5th place position with only three points in Group C.

George’s tenure, which began with optimism and hope for rejuvenating Nigeria’s football prowess, faced challenges on the field.

Despite the team’s talent and potential, they struggled to convert opportunities into wins under his leadership.

The decision to part ways with George reflects the NFF’s commitment to reshaping the team’s trajectory towards international success.

Additionally, the NFF’s Executive Committee resolved to hire an expatriate Technical Adviser for the Super Eagles in the coming weeks, ahead of the AFCON qualifiers and the remaining FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

This move signals a strategic shift in the federation’s approach to coaching, aiming to bolster the team’s performance with international expertise. George may have the option to remain with the team as an Assistant Coach if he desires to continue his tenure in a different capacity.

The announcement has sparked discussions and reactions across the football community, with fans and analysts questioning the team’s performance and the effectiveness of coaching strategies employed during the qualifiers. As Nigeria seeks to regain its standing as a powerhouse in African football and secure qualification for the World Cup, the search for a new head coach becomes paramount.

In a statement released by the NFF, the federation expressed gratitude for George’s efforts while emphasizing the need for a fresh approach to achieve competitive results. The next appointment is seen as crucial in revitalizing the Super Eagles’ campaign and restoring confidence among supporters.

With the World Cup qualifiers continuing to unfold, Nigeria faces a pivotal moment in its footballing journey.

The federation’s decision to dismiss George underscores their determination to address shortcomings and propel the national team towards achieving greater heights on the global stage.

As discussions intensify regarding potential candidates to lead the Super Eagles, stakeholders and fans await the federation’s next steps with anticipation.

The new head coach and Technical Adviser will be tasked not only with refining tactical strategies and player development but also with instilling a renewed sense of unity and purpose within the squad.

Ultimately, Nigeria’s quest for World Cup qualification and success hinges on decisive leadership, strategic planning, and unwavering support from stakeholders.

The appointment of a new head coach and the addition of an expatriate Technical Adviser signal a fresh chapter in the Super Eagles’ quest for excellence and underscore the nation’s enduring passion for football.
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Post by amenina »

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/arti ... vv7gnzz7zo

Why South Sudan fans sang Sudan's national anthem

13 June 2024
In the midst of a civil war that has been raging for more than a year, Sudan's footballers continue to offer a ray of light – and the sport's power to unite was on full display in Juba this week.

There were emotional scenes when Sudan's national side travelled to the capital of South Sudan, a country which was once at war with its northern neighbour before gaining independence.

That was achieved in 2011, as the outcome of a 2005 agreement that ended what was Africa's longest-running civil conflict.

Setting aside old rivalries on Tuesday, large sections of the crowd joined in with Sudan's national anthem ahead of a match which saw the visitors continue their unbeaten start in qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

"Football is a massive hope for Sudan," forward Mo Adam told BBC Sport Africa.

"I feel like it is a language on its own as a different way to spread positive vibes to the country.

"At the game we saw a lot of fans, whether from north or from the south, all come to support us. The atmosphere was amazing.

"Both the Sudanese and South Sudanese fans welcomed us with open arms."

Even after achieving independence, conflict in South Sudan did not end. Civil war broke out in 2013 and eventually ended with a power-sharing agreement five years later.

Now it is Sudan which has been by rocked by civil war for the past 14 months - with at least 16,650 civilians killed according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project while the United Nations estimates that about nine million people have been forced to leave their homes.

Sudanese journalist Abdul Musa, who works closely with his country's football federation, said the support during the national anthem was "an incredible moment".

"Despite the war and all the political events, football is a universal language," he told Newsday on the BBC World Service.

"It's a sport to unite and that's how we felt during the anthem. Some of the Sudanese players were in tears.

"It just shows how people felt emotionally during that moment and how people still feel as if we are one, and nothing can separate us."

Belief amid disruption

The civil war has seen Sudan's domestic league suspended and Al Hilal and Al Merreikh, the two biggest clubs, are seeking to join another country's league next season.

Meanwhile, players have been forced to seek loan moves elsewhere on the continent.

Despite those handicaps Sudan have confounded expectation so far in World Cup qualification, picking up three wins and a draw from their opening games.

Following their 2-0 win in Mauritania last Thursday, goals from Walieldin Khidir, Yasir Mozamil and Mohamed Abdelrahman gave Sudan a 3-0 victory over South Sudan.

Those results have sent Sudan top of Group B, ahead of 2021 Africa Cup of Nations winners Senegal, and left Adam dreaming of a place at the 2026 finals in the USA, Canada and Mexico.

"We're sitting two points [clear] in the table and I'm hoping we continue achieving the results we desire and make it to the World Cup," Adam said.

Sudan are coached by Kwesi Appiah, who was an assistant during Ghana’s run to the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals and then took charge of the Black Stars at the 2014 finals.

"Who else would you pick to help you to qualify for the World Cup?" Adam, 23, added.

"In 2010 he was there when Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar. From time to time we talk about experiences and he believes we can make the World Cup, and I do too."

Only the group winners are assured of qualification, but another African nation could also find progress via an intercontinental play-off, potentially allowing Sudan a second chance if they finish behind Senegal or DR Congo.

Musa says there is growing confidence that Sudan, who are ranked 127th in the world and have never appeared at the World Cup finals before, could achieve a remarkable qualification.

"All the circumstances are really against us with the situation back home," Musa said.

"But the players believe they can do this. It's in their head now that they can go all the way. It's incredible.

"Nobody expected it but dreams come true. Hopefully we can achieve the unthinkable."

Landmark day in Juba

The derby in Juba on Tuesday was an extra special occasion as South Sudan opened a new stadium to end the team's own lengthy exile from a home ground.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit was joined by Gianni Infantino, president of football's world governing body Fifa, at the stadium for an inauguration ceremony.

"With this stadium, we are giving a message of hope to all the people of South Sudan," Infantino said in an address at the 7,000-capacity venue.

"With football, we unite the world, we unite South Sudan, we unite Africa, we unite all the people who love our game, all the people who love peace, all the people who love unity.

"And we do this here, in your capital, in Juba."

Fifa had invested nearly $7m (£5.49m) to support the renovation of the stadium, which began in 2019.

South Sudan may now have their own stadium, but they remain without a win in Group B, having taken two points from their four games so far.

With qualification for the World Cup looking unlikely, could fans lend their support to their northern neighbours?

"In terms of the north and the south, I don't see much of a difference at all," Adam said.

"We are all brothers and before the split we were one nation. I hope we continue to thrive and keep the unity amongst us."

Adam, who plays for a club in Australia, has also seen his own family affected by the civil war in Sudan.

"It has been very difficult," he said.

"Most of my family has moved to Egypt and some have gone to South Sudan as well. I hope everyone can remain safe and one day return home to our beloved country."

Interviews by Mark Lomas and Nishat Ladha.
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Post by dopeisland »

My model for CAF qualifying to this point:


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Post by amenina »

amenina wrote: Thu Jun 06, 2024 18:39 Congo withdraws from its match with Niger in World Cup qualifiers

https://nan.media/en/congo-withdraws-fr ... ualifiers/

The Congolese Minister of Sports, Hughes Nguilondile, announced that his country had withdrawn from its match against Niger in the African qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

This decision came after the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) refused to allow Congo to host the match at the Alphonse Masamba Debate Stadium in the capital, Brazzaville, and FIFA’s insistence on holding it at the Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Nguilondile said: “The Congo national team will not play in Kinshasa. We accept the apology because the Congo is a country that sticks to its word, and when we give our word, we respect it. When we face a situation that does not conform to our values, we do not go along with it, and that is why the decision to withdraw was taken.”

This decision raised the possibility of canceling the match between the Moroccan national team and the Congolese national team, scheduled for next Tuesday, June 11, as it was also scheduled to be played in the same stadium in Kinshasa, and the Congolese Ministry of Sports insists on its position to play its matches in the capital, Brazzaville.

Congolese media had announced the desire of the Congo-Brazzaville Football Association to change the venue for the third and fourth round matches against Niger and Morocco to the Alphonse Masamba Debate Stadium instead of the Martyrs Stadium in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
As expected the Congo v Niger match of Group E matchday 3 has been awarded as a 3-0 forfeit win for Niger. https://www.facebook.com/www.fenifoot.f ... Q49jqAmDZl

Updated Group E standings

Morocco - Pld 3, 9 pts, 10-1
Niger - Pld 3, 6 pts, 5-2
Tanzania - Pld 3, 6 pts, 2-2
Zambia - Pld 4, 3 pts, 6-7
Congo - Pld 3, 2-13
Eritrea - Withdrew
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