Africa awaits the draw for the final stage of the African qualifiers for the World Cup 2022

Africa awaits the draw for the final stage of the African qualifiers for the World Cup 2022

CAIRO: Football fans on the African continent are awaiting the draw for the final stage of the African qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar this year, which will take place tomorrow, Saturday, in the Cameroonian city of Douala, on the sidelines of the African Nations Cup.

10 teams, including 4 Arab teams, qualified for the final stage of the World Cup qualifiers, after their groups topped the group stage in the qualifiers, as they were distributed into two levels, based on the classification issued by the International Football Association (FIFA) last November.

Each team from the first level will meet with one of the second-level teams in two home and away matches during the period from 24 to 29 next March, where the first-leg matches will be held in the stadiums of the second-level teams, while the decisive return matches will be held in the stadiums of the first-level teams.

In the first level are Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Nigeria, which occupied the top five places in the ranking of African teams in the FIFA classification, while the second level includes the teams of Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

What increases the excitement of the confrontations of the last stage of the qualifiers, is that all the qualified teams for this role have previously participated in the World Cup, with the exception of the Mali team, which is still looking for its first appearance in the World Cup.

Perhaps this stage will witness a purely Arab confrontation, if the Egyptian team is drawn into a confrontation with any of the teams of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, but Arab football lovers hope that all their representatives will rise to this role in the World Cup.

Nine teams from the qualified teams are participating in the finals of the African Nations, where the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the only team that failed to reach the continental competition, whose play-offs kicks off on Sunday.

It is certain that the results of those teams, especially the Arab ones, in the African nations will cast a shadow over their preparations for the final stage of the World Cup qualifiers, especially the Algerian team, which is seeking to reach the World Cup for the fifth time in its history, after it missed the last edition of the World Cup that was held in Russia in 2017. 2018

Algeria hopes to restore the smile to its fans who were subjected to a real shock after its early exit from the first round of the African Nations, by coming in last place in the standings of Group E, which included Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone, with one point, only scoring one goal, while his nets conceded 4 goals. , in a surprise that was not expected by the most pessimistic fans.

Despite the early exclusion of the Algerian national team from the African nations, the team received renewed support from Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who wrote on his Twitter account: “This is the logic of football. The big remains big, so do not despair, we encourage you and stand behind you today and tomorrow. Better luck in Upcoming interviews, God willing.”

As for the Tunisian team, which gave the Arabs the first victory in the World Cup, when it defeated Mexico 3-1 in the group stage in the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, it hopes to participate in the great global forum for the sixth time in its history and the second in a row, after its participation in the World Cup in Russia.

The (Carthage Eagles) team will try to move forward in the African nations, despite the difficulty of facing Nigeria in the round of 16, to get a good momentum before resuming its march in the World Cup qualifiers.

For his part, the Moroccan team, which has reached the World Cup 5 times, is participating in the final stage and is thrilled with its positive results under the leadership of its Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic. All six matches in his group, to get the full mark.

The Moroccan team maintained its good level in the first round of the African Nations, where it led its group in the first round, to face its Malawian counterpart in the round of 16, hoping to continue the journey towards the title.

The Moroccan team had given Arab football the first point in its history in the World Cup, when it tied 1-1 with Bulgaria in the group stage of the tournament version that was held in Mexico in 1970. It is also the first Arab and African team to pass the first round, after its rise to the playoffs in the tournament version that took place. Also in Mexico in 1986

As for the Egyptian team, which has the first appearance of the Arabs in the World Cup, after participating in the 1934 World Cup in Italy, it will try to climb for the fourth time in the tournament, after it was also present in the 1990 and 2018 editions in Italy and Russia, respectively.

Despite the lackluster performance of the (Pharaohs) team in the first round of the African Nations Cup, but it reserved a place in the round of 16, but its Portuguese coach, Carlos Queiroz, stressed on more than one occasion that his main goal with the team is to climb to the World Cup.

While Nigeria is looking to qualify for the seventh time in its history in the World Cup, the Cameroon team aspires to enhance its record as the most visible African team in the World Cup, after participating in 7 previous editions, as it dreams of repeating its career in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, when it qualified for the quarter-finals for the first time. In the history of the African teams, before losing 2-3 against England.

Ghana, who was close to becoming the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup during its participation in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, is looking to erase its recent failure in the African Nations, after its exit from the first round, by ascending to the World Cup for the fourth time in its history. .

Senegal, which currently leads the African teams according to the FIFA classification, aims to participate in the World Cup for the third time after the 2002 and 2018 editions, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo dreams of returning to the World Cup, after participating only once in 1974 in West Germany.

(dpa)

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