FIFA World Cup South and East African teams lag behind in WC qualifying race

Five teams that will eventually represent Africa at the 2022 Fifa World Cup finals are likely to be drawn mostly from North, Central and West Africa.

If there is hope of a team from either East or Southern Africa gate-crashing the Qatar party then may the exceptions would be that of Tanzania and Uganda from East Africa and South Africa from Southern Africa.

So far Southern Africa has only Bafana Bafana in contention with Uganda and Tanzania still flying East Africa flag against five for North Africa, eight for West Africa and three Central Africa representatives.  

At least that is the picture that has emerged from the 10 log tables of the ongoing World Cup Africa qualifiers.

The dominance of West and North Africa starts from club and junior national teams and this could be attributed to partly their sound infrastructure, competitive football standards and expertise gained from Europe.

Group leaders from each of the 10 groups will qualify for the final knockout round to produce the five best finalists.

The picture for Group A is loud and clear that either leaders Algeria from North Africa or West Africans Burkina Faso will sail through. Djibouti (East Africa) and Niger (West Africa) are out of the race.

The race for Group B is between Tunisia or Equatorial Guinea who have 10 points and seven points respectively whereas eliminated Zambia from Southern Africa and Mauritania (West Africa) have four and one point.

Group C looks still open as, while Liberia are out with their three points from four games and two games to go, third-placed Central Africa Republic, Cape Verde (seven points) and leaders Nigeria (nine points) remain in contention.

From a biased point of view, only a catastrophe would prevent the Super Eagles from sailing through.

Elsewhere, Ivory Coast eliminated Malawi from Group D race after beating the Flames 2-1 on Monday evening.

The qualification race is now between Ivory Coast and Cameroon who have 10 and nine points respectively whereas bottom-placed Mozambique have joined Malawi, also from Southern Africa, in crashing out of the journey.

In Group E, it is either Mali (10 points) or Uganda (eight) points likely to make it with Rwanda and Kenya (both from East Africa) down and out just like Gabon and Angola (Southern Africa) in Group F where it is Egypt and Libya still in the running.

In Group G, Southern Africa giants, South Africa moved to 10 points on the group log table, one point ahead of Ghana who saw off Zimbabwe 1-0 in an earlier match on Tuesday afternoon in Harare.

With two games each remaining, Ethiopia (East Africa) and Zimbabwe (Southern Africa) are out as they have three points and one point with each.

In Group H, Senegal from West Africa sealed their place in the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers after beating hosts Namibia 3-1 on Tuesday afternoon.

Senegal have unassailable 12 points from four games leaving in their wake second-placed Namibia (four points) from Southern Africa, Congo (two points) and Togo (one point).

Elsewhere, Morocco sealed their place in the next round for Group I to dump out Guinea Bissau, Guinea and Sudan.

Finally, Tanzania from East Africa are surprise leaders for Group J at par on seven points with Benin whereas DRC remain in contention as they have five points, two points ahead of eliminated Madagascar from Southern Africa.

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