By Beng Emmanuel
The final matches of Africa’s second round qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup wrap ups this month with twenty teams (20) set to battle for the remaining eight (8) play-offs spots available.
Morocco and Senegal are the only nations on the continent through to the most determining phase (third round) of the qualification process, having won their opening four games to top their respective groups.
However, there are a number of other African nations who look well-placed to join them at the play-offs. Most of them will be known at the end of some crunch fixtures during the final matches of the qualifiers.
Here is what you should know as the last two rounds of Africa’s World Cup qualifiers conclude.
Group A-Algeria to battle with Burkina Faso
Defending Africa Cup of Nations champions Algeria are tied on 10 points with closest challengers Burkina Faso in a fierce two horse race.
They are both unbeaten since the start of the qualifiers and will look to keep up with their impressive form to inspire them qualify for the next round.
The Desert Foxes will also be banking on their 30-match unbeaten run to reach the World Cup finals for the fifth time. But Burkina Faso won’t give up without a proper fight as they eye a historic qualification.
The Stallions will go into November’s World Cup qualifiers with the spirit of revenge. They missed out during the 2014 edition after losing to Algeria in the final round on aggregate.
Matchday 5: Djibouti vs Algeria/Burkina Faso vs Niger
Matchday 6: Niger vs Djibouti/ Algeria vs Burkina Faso
Group B-Tunisia leads the race
Tunisia may top of the group and feel in firm control, but nothing is certain yet, especially after that goalless draw with already eliminated Mauritania.
Equatorial Guinea still has the chance to top their group if they picked up 6points from their remaining two games.
Zambia are in a difficult situation but could also sail through by adopting the same strategy. However, they must make up for their goal deficit to qualify.
Match day Five: Zambia vs Mauritania/ Equatorial Guinea vs Tunisia
Match day six: Tunisia vs Zambia/ Mauritania vs Equatorial Guinea
Group C: Nigeria, Cape Verde and CAR
Nigeria will qualify for the play-offs and definitely end the suspense in the group if they win their remaining two games. They need four points to join Morocco and Senegal.
The Super Falcons are two points clear of the top from second placed Cape Verde on 7pts. The Central African Republic-who stunned Nigeria in Lagos-are also still in the race for the top spot
Victories in their two remaining games could send them through, while hoping that Nigeria and Cape Verde jeopardize their chances.
Match day five: Liberia vs Nigeria/ Cape Verde vs CAR
Match day six: Nigeria vs Cape Verde vs Liberia vs Central African Republic
Group D: Between Ivory Coast and Cameroon
This group could go down to the wire when Cameroon takes on Ivory Coast at the Japoma Stadium in Douala.
The Indomitable Lions are only a point behind Ivory Coast who sit top of the group with 10pts. The Elephants are the only nation unbeaten in the group where Malawi and Mozambique are eliminated.
Ivory Coast must win their final fixtures to reach the World Cup finals next year for the fourth time after missing out in 2018. Cameroon targets a record eight appearances. They need two wins as well.
Match day five: Malawi vs Cameroon/ Ivory Coast vs Mozambique
Match day six: Cameroon vs Ivory Coast/ Mozambique vs Malawi
Group E-Another two horse race
The Eagles of Mali are leading the pack on 10pts and more likely to advance from the group. But Uganda isn’t giving up yet. The Cranes are seriously challenging for the top spot although they are 2pts behind Mali.
Both Mali and Uganda who are seeking to feature at the World Cup for the very first time in their history face each other on the final day on November 14,2021.
Match day five: Uganda vs Kenya/ Rwanda vs Mali
Match day six: Mali vs Uganda/ Kenya vs Rwanda
Group F: Egypt closer to qualify
The Pharaohs of Egypt are close to reaching the play-offs that could see them seal a spot for their second successive World Cup.
They are four points clear at the top and regarded as firm favourites to advance from the group. It will take a real miracle for Libya or Gabon to change the narrative with two games remaining. Angola is already eliminated.
Match day five: Gabon vs Libya/Angola vs Egypt
Match day six: Egypt vs Gabon/Libya vs Angola
This group is likely to go down to the wire as well when Ghana entertains current leaders South Africa on the final day in Accra. The other two group members Ethiopia and Zimbabwe are merely playing for honour.
The Black Stars are a point behind the Bafana Bafana. Victories in their final two games will only guarantee them a spot if South Africa is unable to win their games as well.
Match day five: Ethiopia vs Ghana/ South Africa vs Zimbabwe
Match day six: Zimbabwe vs Ethiopia/ Ghana vs South Africa
This is probably the most open and unpredictable of all the groups although Tanzania and Benin-level on 7pts each-take the lead.
But the DR Congo and Madagascar are far from using the exit door yet. With two games to go, they can still increase their points tally and dethrone the current occupants to sail through.
Match day five: Tanzania vs DR Congo/ Benin vs Madagascar
Match day six: DR Congo vs Benin/ Madagascar vs Tanzania