Sunday 19 January 2020, 21:36

African journeys set to be mapped out

  • Draw for the second round of the African qualifying competition this Tuesday

  • Everything you need to know about the draw and the contenders

  • Follow the draw LIVE at and on FIFA TV’s YouTube channel

Africa is about to embark on the next phase in the journey to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, with the draw for the second round of the continent’s qualifying competition taking place in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Tuesday 21 January.

The 14 first-round winners will be joined in the draw by the 26 highest African nations in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking (as of December 2019). The 40 teams will be drawn into ten groups of four, with only the section winners advancing to the third round.

What you need to know

When and where

🗓 Tuesday 21 January

🕙 19.00 (local time)

📍 The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo (Egypt)

📲 Where you can watch it LIVE

The schedule

  • Second round: The group phase starts in March 2020 and comes to an end in October 2021.

  • Third round: The ten group winners will be drawn into five two-legged knockout ties to be played in November 2021.

The pots

  • Pot 1: Algeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, Mali, Congo DR

  • Pot 2: Burkina Faso, South Africa, Guinea, Uganda, Cabo Verde, Gabon, Benin, Zambia, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire

  • Pot 3: Madagascar, Mauritania, Libya, Mozambique, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Niger, Central African Republic, Namibia, Guinea-Bissau

  • Pot 4: Malawi, Angola, Togo, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Djibouti

How they shape up

Pot 1: Maghreb nations looking strong

The continent’s big guns line up in Pot 1, among them the five nations that represented Africa at the last FIFA World Cup: Tunisia, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt and Senegal.

Reigning CAF Africa Cup of Nations champions Algeria are in the hat with them. The Desert Foxes missed out on a place at Russia 2018 and will be anxious to return to the World Cup scene for the first time since Brazil 2014. The same goes for Ghana and Cameroon.

Completing Pot 1 are Congo DR and Mali. The Leopards have not graced the world finals since Germany 1974, when they went by the name of Zaire, while the Eagles have never qualified.

Pot 2: Côte d’Ivoire the team to avoid

Two sides with World Cup experience figure in Pot 2: the formidable Côte d’Ivoire, who will be led by their fearsome strike duo of Nicolas Pepe and Wilfried Zaha; and South Africa, who have failed to make the big stage since hosting the 2010 tournament, an absence they are keen to end.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Gabon and Naby Keita’s Guinea are two ambitious sides that will also pose a threat, despite their record of never having qualified.

Burkina Faso, Uganda, Cape Verde, Benin, Zambia and Congo are also capable of big things and should not be underestimated.

Pot 3: Outsiders with big ideas

None of the teams in Pot 3 have ever qualified for the biggest tournament in football, though the likes of Madagascar and Mauritania have made significant progress in recent times and look increasingly capable of taking that last step.

Joining them are Namibia, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, who have all been on the qualification campaign trail for several months now. The quartet emerged from a tricky first round and have designs on going further.

Rounding off the pot are Libya, Niger, Kenya and Central African Republic, who all fancy their chances of causing an upset and making the third round.

Pot 4: Potential surprise packages

The fourth and final pot is an indication of the quality on show in the group phase, containing as it does two previous World Cup qualifiers in Togo and Angola.

Alongside them are teams of the calibre of Tanzania – back in the limelight after appearing at their first Africa Cup of Nations in 40 years – Malawi and Liberia, who respectively knocked out Botswana and Sierra Leone in the last round.

Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Djibouti and Equatorial Guinea also negotiated the preliminary phase and are aiming to make their presence felt in what promises to be an exciting second round.