In less than a month, we will know the 10 teams which will progress to the final round of CAF World Cup Qualifying. The 10 teams will play in a home-and-away series which will send 5 teams to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The top 5 teams according to the September FIFA Rankings will be placed in one pot, while the bottom 5 teams are in a second pot. A team from Pot 1 will be drawn against a Pot 2 team to determine who plays who. Let’s take a look at each of the groups in qualifying and see how things could end up:
We’re going to get into some specific details here regarding FIFA points, so please do not hesitate to contact us in either the comments below or on Twitter @We_Global
Ethiopia had won group A, or so they had thought. After their win over Botswana was deemed invalid, South Africa and Botswana are back from the dead to fight another day. Ethiopia travels to Central African Republic while South Africa hosts Botswana in the final round.
Ethiopia: Will advance with a win. Will advance with a draw AND Botswana win. Will advance with a loss or draw AND Botswana-South Africa draw.
If Ethiopia advances (which is likely), they will have somewhere between 345 and 385 points. This total will certainly see them into Pot 2. They cannot advance into Pot 1.
South Africa: Will advance with a win AND Ethiopia loss or draw.
If South Africa advances, they will have somewhere between 507 and 539 points. While this total is much higher than Ethiopia, South Africa is headed for Pot 2 should they advance.
Botswana: Will advance with a win AND Ethiopia loss.
The least likely scenario, if Botswana advances they will have 409 points and likewise be headed for Pot 2.
Maximum Points from Advancing team: 539
Minimum Points from Advancing team: 345
Similarly, Tunisia had won Group B, but an overturned result has brought Cape Verde Islands back to life. This is down to two teams which play each other. The scenarios are simple:
If Cape Verde advances, they will have 739 points and be headed for Pot 1.
If Tunisia advances, they will have either 601 points or 643 points and need to wait to learn their fate. There is probably the most riding on this group
Maximum Points from Advancing team: 739
Minimum Points from Advancing team: 601
The simplest group of all. Ivory Coast has advanced and will be in Pot 1 even with a home loss to Morocco.
Maximum Points from Advancing team: 977
Minimum Points from Advancing team: 915
Ghana has advanced to the final round and they will be in Pot 1. They will have between 844 and 870 points.
Maximum Points from Advancing team: 870
Minimum Points from Advancing team: 844
This group is still completely wide open and is as confusing as Group A. If Burkina Faso can get through, they could take a Pot 1 spot away from another team. Obviously teams hoping to reach Pot 1 should be rooting against Burkina Faso.
Congo: Win and you’re through. Can still get through with a draw and Burkina/Gabon draw or a loss and some help. If Congo advances, they will have between 367 and 429 points.
Burkina Faso: Burkina can actually get through with a draw, but Niger would have to beat Congo by 3 goals which seems highly unlikely. They’ll have between 583 and 628 points.
Gabon: Gabon needs some help. They need to win, have Congo lose, and make up 4 goals in goal differential. If Gabon advances, they’ll have 533 points. They’d most likely be in Pot 2.
Maximum Points from Advancing team: 628
Minimum Points from Advancing team: 367
Another group that is still open. Nigeria should advance, but if Malawi can somehow pull off a shocker, they’d get through.
Nigeria will be in Pot 1 should they advance. They’ll have between 671 and 707 points.
Malawi will need to win to advance. They’d have 344 points and be in Pot 2.
Maximum Points from Advancing team: 707
Minimum Points from Advancing team: 344
Finally another group that is already determined. Egypt is through to the final round regardless of result. Their pot is still to be determined. They’ll have somewhere between 540 and 610 points. The match against Guinea is absolutely massive for their Pot 1 chances.
Maximum Points from Advancing team: 610
Minimum Points from Advancing team: 540
Another group that has already been determined, Algeria is through to the final round as well. They could actually finish with as many as 762 points or as little as 679 depending on their result. They will also be in Pot 1.
Maximum Points from Advancing team: 762
Minimum Points from Advancing team: 679
This is a weird group, which we’ll get into more at a later date. It’s down to Cameroon and Libya who also play each other. If Libya wins at Cameroon, they’ll be through. Any other result would see Cameroon through.
Cameroon: They’ve completely thrashed their point total over the past month and now are staring at Pot 2 should they advance. They still play 3 matches, so they could advance with as few as 514 points or as many as 558 points.
Libya: Must win at Cameroon to advance. Would have 584 points, which is a very respectable total.
Maximum Points from Advancing team: 584
Minimum Points from Advancing team: 514
The final group sees us with just Senegal and Uganda playing this one out. The situation is like many others. Uganda will need to win at Senegal to advance, while any other result will see Senegal through.
Senegal: Will have 468 points with a draw or 534 points with a win.
Uganda: Will have 511 points should they advance.
Maximum Points from Advancing team: 534
Minimum Points from Advancing team: 468
After looking at each of the groups, here is how things stand in total. YOU CAN CLICK ANY OF THE COLUMN HEADINGS TO SORT THE TABLE BELOW:
What is Known
From this chart, we know a couple things:
1. Ivory Coast, Ghana and Algeria have clinched a spot in Pot 1. There cannot be 5 teams that pass these nations.
2. The Group J Winner will be in Pot 2. Maxing out at 534 points, there will be at least 5 other groups guaranteed to produce a team with a higher point total. Apologies to Uganda and Senegal.
3. The Group A Winner will be in Pot 2. Maxing out at 539 points, the Group A winner cannot pass any of the 4 teams already through or the Group B Winner.
What is Probable
Given our simulations, it is very likely that:
1. Nigeria advances. It seems even more unlikely that Nigeria would lose at home to Malawi. Nigeria should advance and also would clinch a spot in Pot 1. If Nigeria and Ghana advance, which seems highly likely, this would also lock the Group I Winner into Pot 2.
Who Is Left
With what is known and what is probable, we’d have Ivory Coast, Algeria, Ghana and Nigeria in Pot 1. The Group A Winner, Group I Winner, and Group J winner would be headed to Pot 2.
The final Pot 1 spot would be between Burkina Faso from Group E, Cape Verde or Tunisia from Group B, and Egypt. Here are teams in the pecking order of the final spot.
1. Cape Verde Islands: They must win at Tunisia to get through. That win would also lock up the final Pot 1 spot. and knock Egypt and the Group E winner into Pot 2.
2. Tunisia: If Tunisia wins, they’ll be in Pot 1. If Tunisia draws, Burkina doesn’t advance with a win and Egypt doesn’t win, they’d also reach Pot 1.
3. Burkina Faso: If they advance with a win and Tunisia draws Cape Verde, Burkina would get into Pot 1. If they advance with a draw, they’d need Tunisia to draw Cape Verde and hope Egypt doesn’t win to get into Pot 1. If Burkina Faso does not advance, the Group E winner would be in Pot 2.
4. Egypt: Likewise with Tunisia, their path is slightly more difficult, but not all that unlikely. Egypt in all likelihood needs the following to happen to reach Pot 1: Defeat Guinea AND Tunisia/Cape Verde draw AND Burkina Faso not advancing. That’s most likely the only scenario which gets Egypt into Pot 1, but it is certainly doable.
We hope this preview was insightful and gives a good rundown of what can happen before the final pots are determined. Tunisia has been known to play down to their opponents when nothing is at stake, but it remains to be seen whether they realize what truly is at stake here. There’s a better than expected chance that Egypt can reach Pot 1 and avoid Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana and Algeria in the play-off. It should be interesting to watch.
Yours in WGF,