Tough times for African hopefuls
Race hots up to fill five continental slots at 2018 Russian World Cup
WORLD CUP qualifying in Africa has reached a crucial stage with 20 matches between yesterday and Tuesday set to have a major impact on which five countries go to Russia for the 2018 tournament.
Were Nigeria to defeat Cameroon twice, or Egypt to achieve a similar feat against Uganda, they would be virtually certain of securing places.
The same applies to Tunisia or the DR Congo, the other two teams with perfect records after two rounds, who clash twice within five days.
AFRICAN INDEPENDENT looks at what is at stake in the eight fixtures scheduled for today and tomorrow. In-form Gabon star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has done the Ivory Coast a huge favour by declaring himself unavailable without offering an explanation.
The limited hosts can ill afford to do without a striker who has scored in eight consecutive matches for German giants Borussia Dortmund. The “Blue Sharks” have gone from first to 30th in the Fifa Africa rankings in less than two years while losing a string of competitive internationals at home.
Morocco, Libya, Burkina Faso and Uganda have won in Praia, so there is no reason for South Africa not to do so, even without their injured first and second-choice goalkeepers.