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With Group 5 in the World Cup qualifiers set to go to the wire who will miss out on qualifying for the second group stage?
2008.09.09 15:18:54
Jake Brown

The qualification for the 2010 World Cup and 2010 African Nations Cup reached the business end this weekend with a full roster of games across the continent. Cameroon, Benin, and Nigeria all won to secure top spots in their groups. Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda and Burkina Faso have also done enouht to ensure they go forward to the second group phase of qualification, which will see the remaining twenty teams battle it out in groups of 4 to secure the 16 spots at Angola's inaugural Cup of Nations and the 4 places at the first World Cup on African soil. The battle to join them is set to go to the wire with the 3/4 of the teams still in contention as we anticipate the final round of group games.


It's been a fascinating competition so far and there are quite a few unexpected faces banging on the door as we approach the climax to this stage of qualification. Rwanda, Kenya, Benin, and Burkina Faso.are all minnows sitting atop groups that contain much bigger fish and their players and coaches deserve much respect for this. However whether this is a sign of a shifting statu quo or testamount to the difficulties associated with the more established nations getting their players released and prepared for often arduous away trips is open to question.
Regardless it's been great entertainment and the big guns haven't had it all their own way. After 3 draws in 5 games, against the might of Madagascar and Mozambique (X2), Ivory Coast still need a point to guarantee top spot. Neighbouring Ghana ae in a tricky spot. In Group 5 any of Libya, Gabon, or Ghana could take the automatic qualification spot. A disappointing 1-0 defeat in Tripoli left the new Black Star's coach Milovan Rajevac critical of the commitment of his players. He'll expect much more against minnows Lesotho in Kumasi come October. The Black Stars need goals if they are to overturn the superior goal differences of the top two and squeeze through to the next phase.

After a string of lacklustre performances Cameroon can breathe easy as Otto Pfister's charges came from behind to beat Cape Verde 2-1 and top the group. Meanwhile the defending Nations Cup champions Egypt were grateful to Mohamed Aboutreika once again as he scored the only goal in a tough away game against second placed DR Congo but the Pharaohs will still need a point against Djibouti to confirm top spot in Group 12. Nigeria continued their unblemished record since Shaibu Amodu took over the Super Eagles for his third stint at the job. Since Berti Vogts left the Super Eagles  have won all 5 of their competitive games. On Friday against the run of play Ikechukwu Uche scored the only goal of the match  to maintain that record, guarantee top spot and kill of any hopes that South Africa still had of progressing. In Group 3 Angola sit in the shadow of a Benin side who alongside Burkina Faso and Mali have scored the most goals in qualification so far. Friday saw the Black Impalas lose 3-2 in Benin, Razak Omoytossi again scoring to take his total to 5 goals in 5 games.

The second weekend in October is set to be a tense time across the continent, with top spot in 9 of the groups as well as the 8 second place qualification spots all to be decided in that final round of games.

 As it stands the second group phase qualifiers would be:

Group winners:                         Cameroon                  Benin
                                                      Libya                            Burkina Faso      
                                                      Swaziland                   Ivory Coast
                                                      Algeria                         Kenya
                                                      Mali                              Egypt

2nd place:
      Gambia          Seirra Leone           Morocco           Angola                                                                           Tunisia           Congo/Gabon          Zambia           DR Congo

There are a few glaring omissions from that list.

Senegalese football has had a tempestuos year. Following a disastrous Nations Cup campaign qualification from Group 6 hasn't proved easy. After losing 3-2 in Algeria, the North Africans and Gambia sit above them. It will be all to play for when Senegal face Gambia in Dakar and Algeria travel to Liberia looking to seal first place. Guinea are also looking down the barrel in Group 2 and will need at least a point, but probably victory, at home to group leaders Kenya if they're to escape the cull.

There's no such hope for South Africa. Captain Benni McCarthy has returned to the fold after his omission from the CAN squad but Bafana Bafana lost 1-0 despite dominating against Nigeria in Port Elizabeth. This only adds to the sense of foreboding about the 2010 World Cup hosts chances of doing themselves proud on the pitch when the world's biggest party comes to town. After a disappointing Nations Cup they coach Carlos Parreira resigned due to family illness in April. Coach Joel Santana faces a real battle to get his team into shape and now that they've limped out of qualifying he'll have to do that with no competitive matches on the horizon for the best part of two years. No mean feat.

  qualifiers round up | 2010 | Nations Cup qualification | World Cup qualification

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