The draw for the final round of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers- Africa section- takes place today, with Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the hat.
Nigeria finished top of Group C in the second round to qualify with the other nine group winners for the playoffs, which will take place in March.
The playoffs will see the ten group winners take on each other in a two-legged knockout tie, with the five winners representing Africa in Qatar later this year.
Ahead of the playoff draws today, Soccernet.ng takes a look at the best and worst possible scenario for the Super Eagles.
How does the draw work?
Well, it is easy. The ten group winners will be separated into two pots, with each pot containing five teams. The highest-ranked teams in the FIFA rankings will be seeded, placed in the same pot, and play their first legs away from home.
Nigeria are one of the top five ranked teams on the continent, sitting in fifth place, which means they will play their first leg away from home.
Seeded Teams: Senegal, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria.
Unseeded teams: Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt, DR Congo, Mali.
So who can Nigeria draw?
The Super Eagles can draw any of the unseeded teams, which means they will avoid Africa’s number one ranked country, Senegal and North African teams like Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.
However, from what we have seen at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, Algeria and Tunisia might not have been difficult opponents, after all.
Worst Possible draw
Nigeria have been the most impressive side at the AFCON so far, but they will be eager to avoid the host Cameroon, who have been equally excellent.
Not only that, the Indomitable Lions have been Nigeria’s nemesis in this kind of situation, so it will be better to avoid them.
Egypt and Ghana are other teams Nigeria will want to avoid. Still, the Super Eagles will fancy their chances against the two, having outclassed the Pharahos at the AFCON, while Ghana could not qualify from a group that had Gabon and Comoros.
On paper, Nigeria will be eager to face, The Democratic Republic of Congo, who did not qualify for the ongoing AFCON. DR Congo only managed to make the playoffs after beating The Benin Republic and should pose no threat.
Aside from DR Congo, other unseeded teams are difficult opponents, especially Mali, who have some talented players and have been impressive at the AFCON.