Last Update 11:2
Monday, 23 September 2019

After Nations Cup, Africa switches focus to Russia

Reuters , Monday 6 Feb 2017
Egypt's Mohamed El Neney and Ghana’s Andre Ayew. (Reuters)
Views: 798
Views: 798

After the drama of the Nations Cup which concluded on Sunday, African soccer faces a busy year of World Cup qualifiers where newly crowned continental champions Cameroon face an uphill task to make it through.

By November, Africa's five places in Russia will be decided, but several groups could be wrapped up earlier.

Cameroon, who beat Egypt 2-1 in the Nations Cup final in Libreville, have to beat neighbours Nigeria both home and away in back-to-back fixtures in August and September to stand any chance of qualifying.

Egypt are seeking their first World Cup place since Italy in 1990. Repeated failure since has made it almost a national obsession.

They have made a good start, leading their group by two points from Uganda, who they meet next in August.

"It's still a way off so we have to see," said coach Hector Cuper when asked about the World Cup campaign after Sunday's defeat.

Ivory Coast and Senegal, who both flopped at the Nations Cup, can redeem themselves with qualification, while Democratic Republic of Congo provided evidence in Gabon of their growing status and are fancied to be back at the World Cup for the first time since 1974.

They have made a 100 percent start to the group phase and a quarter-final place at the Nations Cup will have boosted confidence.

Before the World Cup group qualifiers resume in August, all countries will play one round of qualifiers for the 2019 Nations Cup finals, which Cameroon will be hosting. The other five rounds of group games will be played next year.

This year, Africa also introduces an expanded Champions League with the group phase increased from eight to 16 clubs. There is an identical format change for the continent's second club competition, the Confederation Cup.

Both begin this weekend with first round, first leg matches in the opening knockout stage. 

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.