Africa’s big names lie in wait

World Cup
World Cup

With 10 ties to be decided on Tuesday some of Africa’s biggest names will find out who they will play in the next round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

With the exception of Sierra Leone, all of Tuesday’s hosts appear to have the advantage for the second legs of the preliminary round.

Swaziland look particularly strong, with a 6-0 advantage over Djibouti. The aggregate winners will play Nigeria.

Both legs of the next round of qualifying will be played next month.

African 2018 World Cup qualifying:
Niger or Somalia (0-2) to play Cameroon Swaziland or Djibouti (6-0) to play Nigeria
Mauritania or South Sudan (1-1) to play Tunisia Botswana or Eritrea (2-0) to play Mali
Namibia or The Gambia (1-1) to play Guinea Burundi or Seychelles (1-0) to play DR Congo
Chad or Sierra Leone (1-0) to play Egypt Guinea-Bissau or Liberia (1-1) to play Ivory Coast
Lesotho or Comoros (0-0) to play Ghana Madagascar or CAR (3-0) to play Senegal
African champions Ivory Coast will face either Liberia or Guinea-Bissau.

That tie in Bissau is evenly balanced at 1-1 after the first leg in Monrovia with hosts Guinea-Bissau scoring an important away goal.

Mauritania and South Sudan are also locked at 1-1 after their rain-interrupted opening leg that was played on Wednesday and Thursday in Juba.

The aggregate winners will advance to take on Tunisia.

Another tie level at 1-1 is Namibia at home to The Gambia – the eventual winners will be rewarded with a tie against Guinea.

Despite not being able to secure a win on home soil the Scorpions Swiss coach Raoul Savoy believes his side are still in with a chance.

“It was disappointing not to win at home on Friday,” he said ahead of the match in Windhoek.

“It was the first time in a long time that we played so bad and now we have to fight back and get a result that can take us through, it won’t be easy but we have do it.”

“We could not use the home advantage and Namibia were lucky to have scored from their only shot at goal.”

His opposite number Ricardo Mannetti is equally confident.

“Getting a draw away from home was encouraging but now we need to take that a step further and finish the job at home,” he said on the Namibia FA website.

“Our players are capable of doing that and we will not underestimate Gambia as we know they have ability to do well.

“They are good in the air but we managed to prevent them from using that to defeat us in Gambia.”

The only goalless first leg was between Lesotho and Comoros who meet in Maseru to decide who will play the Africa Cup of Nations runners-up Ghana.

2018 World Cup second round qualifiers
Ethiopia v Congo Morocco v Equatorial Guinea
Kenya v Cape Verde Mozambique v Gabon
Tanzania v Algeria Benin v Burkina Faso
Sudan v Zambia Togo v Uganda
Libya v Rwanda Angola v South Africa
Chad were the only side to win at home as they beat Sierra Leone 1-0 in N’djamena.

Sierra Leone cannot rely on home support for the return leg because they will be playing in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt as they are still unable to host games in Freetown due to the Ebola crisis.

Seven-time African champions Egypt are waiting for the victors in the next round.

Another side who are unable to play at home are the Central African Republic due to the recent violence in the country.

They play Madagascar, who hold a 3-0 lead, for a second time in their opponents’ capital city Antananarivo and are favourites to play Senegal next.

Burundi are 1-0 up against Seychelles in Bujumbura with the winners going through to play DR Congo.

Niger play host to Somalia with a 2-0 lead and Cameroon await the overall winners.

Botswana also have a two goal advantage for the visit of Somalia and will expect to play Mali in the next round.

A total of 20 two-legged ties will be played in November to decide which nations will play in the final group stage of qualifying.

The teams will then be split into five groups of four with the five pool winners qualifying for the World Cup in Russia.