African teams to follow

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Computer generated image of the Lusail stadium with a capacity of 80,000 seats, which should host the opening match and the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, north of Doha, Qatar.

Forty selections, divided into ten groups of four, are still in the race to win one of the five places reserved for Africa in the final phase of the 2022 World Cup. Only the first of each group will play the third round, in matches. round trip.

Read also Football: the tops and the flops of the African selections in 2020-2021

Until then, the road will be long and difficult. Several heavyweights from the African continent will remain on the sidelines since this second round offers confrontations between Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and South Africa or even Morocco to Guinea. Here are the main posters to follow during the first two days which will stretch from 1er to September 8.

  • Senegal – Togo (group H, 1er September)

Senegal may have qualified for CAN 2022 after reaching the final of the 2019 edition and making it to the finals of the World Cup in 2018, coach Aliou Cissé regularly suffers from criticism, often harsh, of the press and public opinion.

Their grievances? A game considered too cautious and choices contested when composing the lists. The person, who assures to be used to the attacks of his detractors, prefers to concentrate on these first two matches of September against Togo and then Congo. Against the Togolese Hawks, now led by the Portuguese Paulo Duarte, who succeeded Claude Le Roy, Aliou Cissé will be able to count on his executives, including Sadio Mané (Liverpool), Idrissa Gueye (Paris-Saint-Germain) or Kalidou Koulibaly ( SSC Naples).

The Lions of Teranga, long threatened by a relocation of the match, will finally be able to play at home, in Thiès, but without an audience.

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  • Algeria – Djibouti (group A, September 2)

On paper, this meeting is the most unbalanced match of the second round. It is also the most unexpected. Algeria, African champion in 2019, continues to dominate African football and coach Djamel Belmadi, who advocates an offensive and spectacular game, is aiming for nothing more than qualification for the World Cup.

A priori, the Fennecs do not have much to fear from Djibouti, who qualified for the second round after eliminating Eswatini (2-1, 0-0), a performance already perceived as such a feat. the Red Sea Sharks had been a subscriber to failure for decades. The arrival in 2019 as coach of Julien Mette, an unknown young Frenchman, has changed the face of this machine to lose.

For Djibouti players, who play a large part in the local championship, facing Riyad Mahrez, Sofiane Feghouli or Islam Slimani was still unthinkable a few months ago.

  • Ivory Coast – Cameroon (group D, September 6)

These two giants of African football alone total seven African Cups of Nations (CAN) and ten participations in the World Cup. Only one will be present in Qatar in 2022. The draw decided so, Malawi and Mozambique, the other members of this group C, acting as justices of the peace.

This shock, scheduled at the Alassane Ouattara stadium, built to host CAN 2023, and scheduled very early in the calendar of this second round, will undoubtedly not be decisive. But the winner, if there is one, will gain a clear advantage over his opponent before the return leg, scheduled for November.

Côte d’Ivoire, with the home advantage and a slightly more talented workforce, leaves with the favor of the forecasts, even if Cameroon, a little more than four months from the CAN which it will organize in January 2022, has exuded a certain power in recent months, failing to excite its supporters.

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  • Guinea – Morocco (group I, September 6)

Vahid Halilhodzic, the coach of Morocco, lives a situation comparable to that of Aliou Cissé in Senegal. The results are generally positive, but the proposed game generates a lot of disapproving comments. Not enough to destabilize the inflexible Bosnian, faithful to his convictions and who has always preferred efficiency and discipline to spectacle.

In a group that is certainly affordable but full of traps (Guinea, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau), the Atlas Lions will first welcome Sudan (September 2) before going to challenge Guinea, its apparently most consistent opponent. , in Conakry. Didier Six, a former glory of French football in the 1970s and 1980s, dreams of shaking up the hierarchy and bringing down the Moroccan favorite to offer Guinea a historic qualification.

  • Benin – Democratic Republic of Congo (group J, September 6)

The Beninese Squirrels and the Congolese Leopards will be two of the big absentees from the next CAN in Cameroon and they are betting a lot on a qualification for the World Cup. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has not participated since 1974 when the country was still called Zaire, is presented as the big favorite of this group, which also includes Madagascar and Tanzania. She poached the coach Hector Cuper, to whom she offered the biggest salary ever paid to a coach in the DRC (50,000 euros per month).

The Argentinian, who knows a lot about pressure – he notably led Inter Milan and Egypt – knows he is expected. His counterpart alongside the Beninese players, the Frenchman Michel Dussuyer, came close to the door after the elimination of his team from the CAN.