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2018 World Cup Qualifying Pot Projections – CAF

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Just as in the draw for the 2014 World Cup, CAF looks set to use the July 2015 FIFA Ranking as its deciding factor to determine Qualifying Pots. Zimbabwe has been expelled, and we’ll assume they stay expelled. Should all 53 teams enter, 26 teams will contest the preliminary round while the other 27 will advance directly to a subsequent round. The bottom 14 will play the next bottom 14 in home-and-away ties to determine the 40 teams that advance to the 2nd round. Should any teams withdraw, the top of the 26 preliminary round teams will progress directly to the subsequent rounds.

Given that FIFA has supplied all nations with $300,000 USD should they enter, all nations seem likely to participate. As we’ll advise many times throughout this article, there are opportunities to move up in Pots. Check out our consulting page. We’d love to help.


1st round: It appears to us that the lowest 26 teams will enter the 1st round in home-and-away legs.

2nd round: The 13 winners will join the Pot 3 teams for another series of home-and-away legs.

3rd round: The 10 winners from the 2nd round will play the 10 teams in Pot 2 in home-and-away legs.

4th round: The 10 winners from the 3rd round will join the 10 teams from Pot 1 in the Group stage, where they will be broken into 5 groups of 4. The 5 winners will advance to the World Cup.


It could also be that only the 6 lowest teams enter the 1st round to reduce the number to 50. Pot 2 then plays Pot 5 while Pot 3 plays Pot 4 in the 2nd round. It remains likely that there will be 20 teams entering the 3rd round and the teams in Pot 1 will advance directly to the group stage. We also assume that the July FIFA Rankings are used.

Here is how we project the pots as of 6/15/2015:

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4
Algeria Guinea Togo Qualifying 4
Côte d'Ivoire Mali Morocco Qualifying 5
Ghana Congo DR Angola Qualifying 6
Tunisia Equatorial Guinea Sudan Qualifying 7
Senegal Gabon Mozambique Qualifying 8
Cameroon Zambia Benin Qualifying 9
Congo South Africa Niger Qualifying 10
Cape Verde Islands Uganda Qualifying 1 Qualifying 11
Egypt Burkina Faso Qualifying 2 Qualifying 12
Nigeria Rwanda Qualifying 3 Qualifying 13


Qualifying Pot 1 Qualifying Pot 2
Ethiopia Burundi
Sierra Leone Mauritania
Malawi Liberia
Kenya Central African Republic
Namibia Chad
Botswana Mauritius
Libya Seychelles
Madagascar Sao Tome e Principe
Swaziland Comoros
Lesotho South Sudan
Tanzania Eritrea
Gambia Somalia
Guinea-Bissau Djibouti


CAF Pot 1

Algeria: Final Points: 955

Ivory Coast: Final Points: 917

Ghana: Final Points: 857

Tunisia: In Pot 1. Still with a couple friendlies that won’t hurt them. Min Points: 752, Max: 784

Senegal: With CHAN Qualifiers to go, will drop points but not Pots. Min Points: 695, Max: 715

Cameroon: Final Points: 672

Congo: Final Points: 630

Cape Verde Islands: Final Points: 609

Egypt: Final Points: 605

Nigeria: Final Points: 601


CAF Pot 2

Guinea: They could not participate in CHAN and easily lock up a spot in Pot 1. Your choice. Otherwise totally no chance. Min Points: 577, Max: 598.

Mali: This is what WGF calls the self-nidge. They’ve put themselves in Pot 2. Min Points: 539, Max: 556

Congo DR: Final Points: 555

Equatorial Guinea: Final Points: 546

Gabon: Final Points: 524

Zambia: Still with some matches, but nowhere to go. Pot 2. Min Points: 469, Max: 494

South Africa: Just way too many games. Way too many. Min Points: 459, Max: 484

Burkina Faso: Final Points: 481

Uganda: Another team with a couple CHAN games, but won’t fall. Min Points: 453, Max: 475

Rwanda: As we expected, Rwanda had room for improvement. And they got to Pot 2. Final Points: 450


CAF Pot 3 – Direct Qualifiers

Togo: Just didn’t have enough to stay in Pot 2. Final Points: 415

Morocco: Got kinda screwed by the whole AFCON debacle. Morocco has played nothing but friendlies since September 2013. Then scheduled Uruguay for some reason, got clowned. Also stuck in Pot 3. Min Points: 354, Max: 426

Angola: Does not subscribe to the “Schedule Winnable Friendlies” idea. Scheduled Ivory Coast, lost, and stuck in Pot 3. Had a legit chance at Pot 2 if they wanted it. Could fall to the preliminary round if they screw up the CHAN qualifiers. Min Points: 327, Max: 376

Sudan: Did what they had to do to avoid the prelims. Final Points: 371

Mozambique: Yet another team that is playing too many matches. Would be in Pot 3 without CHAN. Now must wait. Min Points: 337, Max: 354

Benin: No friendlies, no problem apparently. Benin is headed for Pot 3. Final Points: 345

Niger: Unfortunately JUST behind Benin due to rounding. They now must wait and see if Libya passes them. Final Points: 345


Preliminary Round – Pot 1

Ethiopia: Blew their opportunity to get out of the preliminary round unless Angola loses 3 matches. Max Points: 328, Min: 293

Sierra Leone: Just didn’t do enough. Same as Ethiopia. Max Points: 326, Min: 300

Malawi: The Flames came up just short of getting out of the early rounds. Final Points: 302

Kenya: Did a good job in AFCON Qualifying, but can’t get out of this pot. It could be worse. Max Points: 306, Min: 254

Namibia: Same thing as Kenya. Did well to end up here. But nowhere to go. Max Points: 309, Min: 242

Botswana: Haven’t been overly good or bad. This feels fair. Max Points: 269, Min: 247

Libya: The Libya FA had fallen off the face of the earth until AFCON Qualifying. If they get anything in friendlies against Tunisia and Morocco, they can get out of the preliminary round. Much to play for. Max Points: 423, Min: 246

Madagascar: Awesome job at the COSAFA Cup locked Madagascar into this pot. Well done. Final Points: 250

Swaziland: Surprise defeat of Guinea was huge. Can still drop with a bad CHAN performance so must be careful. Max Points: 249, Min: 197

Lesotho: Did well to reach the group stage of AFCON Qualifying. Ultimately, it probably hurt them, as they only got 2 points in qualifying. Now after continued poor performance, could fall to the 2nd pot in the prelim round. Max Points: 234, Min: 209

Tanzania: Just can’t seem to get the ship going in the right direction. Can’t get out of the preliminary round, and just like some other teams, much to play for in the CHAN qualifiers. Max Points: 250, Min: 195

Gambia: Got a point in AFCON qualifying that probably alone bumped Gambia up. But they could slip back with a bad CHAN performance. Plenty of other teams can still pass them. Max Points: 307, Min: 140

Guinea-Bissau: The final team in Pot 1. Guinea-Bissau doesn’t play friendlies, but they should. In danger of being passed by someone behind them. We’ll see what happens with these CHAN qualifiers. Max Points: 299, Min: 148


Preliminary Round – Pot 2

Burundi: At least there’s a chance. Right on the border. Fate will be determined through CHAN Qualifiers. Max Points: 205, Min: 163

Mauritania: Stunk up the joint recently. Needs to win and needs some help to move up. Max Points: 224, Min: 139

Liberia: We wrote this: “Hasn’t played a match since June 2014. Can EASILY get out of Pot 2 if they want to schedule a friendly. One draw against the worst team in the world would be enough to pass Guinea-Bissau.” They did no such thing. And yet still can easily get out of this pot with a respectable CHAN performance. They could even avoid the preliminary round altogether! Max Points: 390! Min: 126

Central African Republic: One of the most overrated teams in the FIFA Rankings for a long time due to winning a couple 2013 AFCON Qualifiers, the ranking finally caught up. Just not playing good football right now. Final Points: 110

Chad: Actually almost advanced past Malawi in AFCON Qualifying. Schedule some friendlies. Please. Check out our consulting page. Final Points: 100

Mauritius: Still a slight chance to move up, but they have to do very well in CHAN Qualifiers. Max Points: 155, Min: 71

Seychelles: Goose has been cooked. They’ll be in Pot 2 regardless of CHAN performance. Max Points: 107, Min: 52

Sao Tome e Principe: Refuses to play friendlies. Severe underachievers. Final Points: 48

Comoros: Got some solid results in 2014, which were encouraging. The lack of effort following elimination from AFCON 2015 was not. Has a slim chance to get out of Pot 2, but the window is just about closed. They need to get something in the CHAN Qualifiers. Max Points: 174, Min: 37

South Sudan: Not really sure what happened to this nation. Got into FIFA, scheduled a bunch of matches, and did reasonably well. Like others, after elimination from AFCON 2015, hasn’t played a match until this month. As a result, you’re in Pot 2. Final Points: 24

Eritrea: Not taking football seriously at the moment. Haven’t played a match in a year and a half and refuses to enter AFCON Qualifying. Final Points: 8

Somalia: See: Eritrea. Exactly the same comments. Final Points: 6

Djibouti: Nobody has seen Djibouti since December 2011. They reappeared and got absolutely clowned by Tunisia. Can still pick up some points, but can’t get out of this pot. Max Points: 117, Min: 4


That rounds up the AFCON Qualifying Pots. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @We_Global for more World Cup previews. This page will be updated as results are played out. Thanks for reading!



4 thoughts on “2018 World Cup Qualifying Pot Projections – CAF

  • Africa has announced this isn’t how they’re going to do their qualifiers this time. The group stage will have only 20 teams (five pools of four, winners qualify), with three knockout rounds prior (how many teams enter each is uncertain). In addition, Zimbabwe has been expelled.

    • There’s really not much information out there. There may be multiple group rounds. Who knows?

      This will be updated to include the AFCON Qualifying matches. Regardless, with the games on the schedule prior to today, this is the expected order of teams in the July ranking, however they break up the teams.

  • Also, we aren’t ruling out Zimbabwe yet. It seems like a protest that can be overturned.

  • Ryuji Yamazaki 0r0chi

    They should axe CHAN, have AFCON every 4 years (a year after every world cup plus increase the teams to 24) and have a tournament for the lower 30 Africa teams (Reunion and Zanzibar are part of CAF but not FIFA member)to compete in. Should be held every four years in between AFCON. Start qualification after World Cup qualification ends until maybe a month before the next World Cup Draw. Only 7 teams (including host) qualify. They will also qualify for the next World Cup qualification and join the other 26 higher teams for a total of 34 teams. Once this tournament finishes, then they can run the qualification for both World Cup and AFCON. Same as what AFC has created.This is to improve and give opportunities for these lower countries to grow. Out of the lower 30 teams, maybe only around 10 of them qualified for AFCON ever. These teams always get annihilated during both qualifications of AFCON and World Cup in CAF. With one of them, Sudan, qualified for the World Cup once. But, as the website states, CAF is out of this world and confusing.

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