The second round draws of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers (African section) held on Tuesday evening in Cairo, Egypt. The draw saw 40 nations drawn into ten groups of four teams each, and it served fans some mouth-watering ties.
Without much talk, Soccernet.ng takes a look at the winners and losers from the draws. Before going further, it should be noted that the group winners will still be paired in a knockout round draw to determine Africa’s representatives.
The Super Eagles will lock horns with Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia in what looks like an easy draw on paper for Gernot Rohr’s men.
Although Gernot Rohr called for caution after the draw was made, Nigeria should have no problem qualifying from a group that includes teams ranked outside the top 50 places in the FIFA rankings.
Cape Verde (78), CAR (109) and Liberia (152) should pose no threat to Nigeria’s quest to pick the group’s sole ticket.
After been handed a nightmare draw in 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Algeria will be satisfied with the teams they got this time around. Les Fennecs missed out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup after they were paired against Nigeria, Cameroon and Zambia in the qualifiers.
However, they will be satisfied with 2022 draw which pits them against Niger, Djibouti and Burkina Faso. With Man City star Riyad Mahrez in their ranks, Algeria look set to pick the ticket from Group A.
The Teranga Lions will also have no complaints with the draw which paired them against Togo, Congo and Namibia. Senegal will be boosted by the services of Liverpool star Sadio Mane and should have no problem seeing off their group rivals.
Winners: Group E Teams
The most balanced group out of the ten groups as they avoided the traditional heavyweights. Although Mali are the top seed in this group, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda will fancy their chances against the Eagles.
None of the teams has qualified for the World Cup before, so the matchups between the four teams will be an interesting one.
The Indomitable Lions have more appearances (7) at the World Cup than any other African country, but they missed the 2018 edition and could miss out again in 2022.
The five-time African champions failed to qualify for 2018 World Cup in Russia after they were paired in a group that includes Nigeria, Algeria and Zambia. Luck has not smiled on them once again after they were pitted against the strongest team in pot two.
The 2021 AFCON hosts were drawn against the Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire alongside Mozambique and Malawi. While Mozambique and Malawi are beatable on paper, the Cote D’Ivoire will be difficult opposition with the Elephants boasting of superstars like Eric Bailly, Nicolas Pepe and Serge Aurier.
Egypt qualified for the 2018 World Cup after missing the last six editions, but the Pharaos face a difficult task if they are to qualify for the 2022 edition. They have been drawn against Gabon, Libya and Angola in Group F. Although they are still favourites, a match against Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s Gabon is not ideal, while Angola will be a tough nut to crack.
Losers: South Africa
South Africa have World Cup pedigree, but they have been handed a tough group. The Bafana Bafana have been drawn against the Black Stars of Ghana, The Warriors of Zimbabwe, and Walias of Ethiopia. These are no easy fixtures, especially games against Ghana and rivals, Zimbabwe.