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2018 World Cup Qualifying Draws – CAF and AFC

With the whirlwind of March internationals concluded, it’s time for WGF to take a look at the pots for the next round of World Cup Qualifying. We’ve disseminated the information via Twitter (also follow us @We_Global), but we wanted to organize the information here for a more clear picture.We’re going to take a look at the two confederations which have a draw upcoming in the next few months. Those are AFC and CAF.


The Asian Football Confederation has concluded its second round of World Cup Qualifying. The 12 teams to advance are: Iran, Australia, Korea Republic, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, China PR, Qatar, Iraq, Syria, and Thailand.

These 12 teams will be broken into two groups of six teams each. Teams will play a round robin against the others in their group, resulting in 10 total matches being played. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the World Cup. The third place finishers in each group will contest a home-and-away playoff for the right to face the 4th best team from CONCACAF for another spot in the World Cup.

Each group is going to be very strong, given that there are only two groups. To decide how the groups are formed, the AFC will conduct a draw on April 12th in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Sadly, WGF will not be in attendance. 6 pots will contain 2 teams each. One team from each pot will be sent to Group A, while the other will go to Group B.

The pots will be determined via the April 2016 FIFA Rankings, which will be released on April 7th. With the March matches concluded, the April rankings, and thus the pots, are now known with certainty. The top two teams will go into Pot 1, teams ranked #3 and #4 into Pot 2, etc. Here is what the rankings and pots will look like.



The Confederation of African Football will also be conducting a World Cup Qualifying draw on June 24th in Cairo, Egypt. CAF has not yet announced exactly how teams will be grouped into pots, but FIFA mandates the use of FIFA Rankings for World Cup Qualifying draws. Given that CAF has used the FIFA Rankings directly preceding the draw for almost 10 years, it is extremely likely that CAF uses the June 2016 rankings to determine its pots.

A side note: the pots would not be any different if for some reason CAF decided to use the April or May rankings.

Round 3 is the final round of CAF Qualifying. 20 teams are still alive: Algeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal, Egypt, Tunisia, Cape Verde Islands, Congo DR, Congo, Guinea, Mali, Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Gabon, and Libya.

These 20 teams will be broken into five groups of four teams each with the top 5 teams in Pot 1, teams 6-10 in Pot 2, etc. One team from each pot will be drawn into the same group. Teams will play a round robin against the others in their group, resulting in 6 total matches being played. Only the top team in each group will qualify for the World Cup. CAF gets 5 World Cup spots.

Currently, no CAF team is scheduled to play a match between now and May 28th (the cutoff for the June rankings). AFCON Qualifiers in June will not count towards the June rankings. Unless teams schedule a friendly between now and May 28th, this is what the CAF pots will look like.

Teams DO have the ability to move up or down should they schedule a friendly. Should you, or your team, decide that the pot location is unsatisfactory, feel free to check out our consulting link at the top of the page. Something CAN be done.

We hope you found these updates helpful, and we will keep this page updated if anything changes. Thanks for reading.

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