With just two matchdays remaining in the third and final round of African World Cup qualifiers, a clearer picture is emerging as to who will be boarding the plane to South Africa in June next year.
Here is a special report from Fifa.com that takes you through the groups to see who has missed out and who still has qualification in their sights.
Which teams are already through?
With four wins out of four, seven goals for and none against, Ghana’s progress in this third qualifying round has been flawless. With qualification secured, the Black Stars can now aim to build on their debut performance at Germany 2006.
Which teams are out?
Still winless after four games, Rwanda (Group C) and Sudan (Group D) are no longer in the running for the big event in South Africa. Despite faring somewhat better, Mali and Benin are in the same situation in Group D, as are Guinea and Malawi in Group E.
Group A: This is by far the most open of the five groups, with all four teams still in with a shout, although Cameroon are in the driving seat after recent back-to-back wins over second-placed Gabon. If they beat Togo and Morocco win in Gabon on the next match-day, the Indomitable Lions will join Ghana in the finals. For the other three teams, their fate is out of their hands.
Group B: Two solid performances against main rivals Nigeria (0-0 in Rades and 2-2 in Abuja) mean that Tunisia will qualify if they record a home win against Kenya in October and Nigeria fail to beat Mozambique. The Super Eagles will need to win their two final matches and hope other results go their way if they are to finish top.
Group C: Twenty-three years after their last Fifa World Cup appearance, Algeria has never been closer to a return to the world stage. With an unblemished home record (three wins out of three), the Fennecs need only to better Egypt’s result on the next match-day to wrap up qualification. Failing that, all will be decided when they face off against the Pharoahs in November.
Group D: With Ghana safely through, all that remains is for Mali, Benin and Sudan to battle it out for second place in the two outstanding rounds of fixtures.
Group E: Although qualification is not yet a mathematical certainty, with 12 points out of 12, Ivory Coast have done all the hard work. A single point from their two remaining games, in Malawi and at home to Guinea, will be enough to see the Elephants through, four years after their maiden Fifa World Cup.
What about second and third place?
This last round of qualifiers in Africa doubles as the qualification tournament for the 2010 African Cup of Nations. The top three teams in each group will book their passage to the finals in Angola in January, just a few months before the Fifa World Cup itself kicks off. Algeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast are already assured of a place, while the others still have everything to play for in the last two match days.
Scholarships Up For Grabs For 10 Winners At MTN Champs
The grand finale of the MTN Champs will commence from today and end on Sunday at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja where 10 winners will bag scholarship and financial benefits.
MTN CHAMPS is a program in Nigeria that aims to unearth and foster athletics talent across the country.
It is modeled after the Jamaican High school CHAMPS and is poised to become the primary platform for identifying and nurturing promising athletes who could go on to represent Nigeria in prestigious international competitions such as the Olympics and World Championships.
Before the finals in Abuja, the track and field event was held in three different regions namely: Uyo, Benin and Ibadan where over 7,000 athletes have competed and 42 finalists emerged.
Speaking at the MTN Champs Press Conference held on Wednesday in Abuja, the General Secretary of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Rita Mosindi appealed for the introduction of anti-doping lectures for the young athletes.
“ I want to appeal for the introduction of anti-doping lectures for the kids to educate them on the side effects of taking dope substances.
“These are raw talents that we can manage and nurture them to stardom.
“My advice is to do seminars concerning this just as we have started doing as a federation to reduce doping cases in Nigeria.”
Founder and CEO of Making of Champions (MoC), Bambo Akanni, who is the brain behind the MTN Champs revealed that 10 young athletes from the championship will get special scholarship in the USA and Jamaica.
“MTN Champs involving Secondary School Championship is to discover future Olympians for the country, building youth to excel in sports and academics. This is in line with MTN history of supporting local athletes for global aspirations.
NBPL Final Four: Winning Tournament Excites Rivers Hoopers Player
Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt player Effiong Abel has expressed joy for winning the just concluded Nigeria Basketball Premier (NBPL) League Final Four in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the game was not an easy one, adding that they were going through a hard training before the competition.
Effiong disclosed his excitement last Saturday in an exclusive interview with Tidesports shortly after Rivers Hoopers defeated Nigeria Customs basketball team 77-57 in the final game of the four of the NBPL in Port Harcourt.
He stated that it was a team work that saw them through, adding that he was very happy winning the tournament in the front of his fans.
“ I feel very excited today for winning the Nigeria Basketball Premier League Final Four in Port Harcourt.
“ It was not an easy one because of the type of training we were undergoing to ensure we get victory in the tournament.
“I give kudos to my teammates and the coaching crew, they were awesome.
“ Also kudos to the fans, they came out in numbers to support us” Effiong said.
Effiong personally took charge at some point of the game delivering three pointers which eventually created a lee way for a sumptuous finale.
By: Kiadum Edookor
MOC Makes Appeal Over Age Cheats
Organisers of the ongoing school athletics competition, MTN Champs, Making of Champions (MoC), have appealed to all athletes who have participated in the three legs of the championship, as well as their schools, parents, coaches and everyone connected to them to support the body in its efforts to eradicate the systemic age cheating in Nigeria’s athletics by committing to use their real ages at the Abuja grand final and in future.
“MTN has provided a historic opportunity for Nigeria to finally tackle the pressures that our athletes have long faced to cut their ages,” MoC said in a statement made available to news men.
“Never in our nation’s history has there been a nationwide series of championships that has provided three age groups cutting across ages 11 to 19, to give everyone possible opportunity to compete fairly in their own age groups, and we have even relaxed the junior age group from U-20 to U-23.
The grand finale will hold in Abuja from December 1 to 3.
The MoC statement added: “Despite the fact that appropriate age groups have been provided for everyone, we have seen widespread age discrepancies across all three age categories – Cadet (U-14) and Youth (U-17) categories, which are strictly for secondary schools only and juniors (U-20), which is open to all other teenagers.
“For example, we have seen a systematic pattern of an unusually high number of SS2 and SS3 students claiming to be 13 and 14 years old respectively. We have seen athletes who were 14 in 2021 claiming to still be 14 now, 18-year-olds who have finished secondary school already claiming to be 13 so that they can run against the cadets, and we have seen many athletes competing for schools they are not part of and in the wrong age categories as well.
“One of such schools, which was biggest offender in this area, is currently in the process of being disqualified, which will be announced shortly.”
News3 days ago
Fighter Plane Missing Since WW11 Found 80 Years Later
Metro3 days ago
Omoku Agog As Monarch Honours 29 Nigerians
News3 days ago
Johnson Promises RIVPA Inclusive Govt
Nation3 days ago
Senator Natasha Lauds NDDC, NLNG’s Collaboration On Local Content
News3 days ago
FG, US Consider Credit Facilities For Mining Firms
Rivers3 days ago
Human Capital Dev, My Greatest Achievement – Awortu
News3 days ago
COP28 Summit: Tinubu Meets King Charles In Dubai
Nation3 days ago
Mrs Nwifuru Urges GBV Survivors To Speak Up