FIFA Seeds Nigeria, 19 Others For W’Cup Draws | Independent Newspapers Limited
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FIFA Seeds Nigeria, 19 Others For W’Cup Draws

Posted: Jul 18, 2015 at 2:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Peter Edema –  Lagos


Nigeria and 19 African countries have been grouped together by FIFA for the first and second qualifying rounds of the 2018 World Cup. The draws would hold on July 25 in Russian city of Saint Petersburg.

Of the 13 countries that have represented Africa at the World Cup, Algeria, Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana, Tunisia, Senegal, Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria, DR Congo and South Africa are in the top 20.

But Togo, Morocco and Angola are not, meaning they will be unseeded in the second-round draw, raising the possibility of a showdown against a giant.

The other teams in the top 20 are Congo, Cape Verde, Guinea, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Zambia. There are also Burkina Faso, Uganda and Rwanda.

However, Zimbabwe has been disqualified by FIFA from the World Cup for failing to pay former national coach, Brazilian Jose Claudinei Georgini. South Sudan is the lone debutants.

The first two rounds consist of home-and-away ties decided by goal aggregate, and the October and November matches will trim the field from 53 hopefuls to 20.

Among those expected to reach the third and final qualifying stage will be No. 1 ranked African national team Algeria and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations winners Cote d’ Ivoire.

FIFA used the July rankings to determine the seedings and the 26-team first round consists of teams placed 28 and lower.

First-round matches are scheduled to be staged between October 5 and 13 and another nine-day period — November 9-17 — have been set aside for the second round.

Teams reaching the third round will be split into five groups of four at a separate draw and the winners after six-matchday series go to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

The best showings by Africa at the World Cup were Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) reaching the quarter-finals.