Nigeria will play the winners of the Round 1 play off between Djibouti and Swaziland in Round 2 of the 2018 Fifa World Cup preliminary competition for Africa Zone.
The preliminary draw for Russia 2018 Fifa World Cup was held at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Wednesday, with InformationNigeria.com- as expected- focusing its attention on the draw for the Confederation of African Football (Caf) zone.
Immediately after doing justice to the pairing for Intercontinental Play-off, which does not involve any of Africa’s representatives as the continent has been awarded five whole slots at the showpiece, the draw for the African Zone commenced.
Retired Cameroon international, Samuel Eto’o, and former Russian goalkeeper, Rinat Dasaev, took to the stage to assist Fifa Secretary General, Jérôme Valcke, with the African Draw.
With the exception of Zimbabwe- excluded from the competition following their expulsion by football’s governing body for failing to meet its financial obligation to their former coach; the rest of Africa’s 53 member associations were plucked from the hat.
This year’s draw was conducted in two formats involving 26 lowest ranked teams from Caf Zone on the Fifa/ Coca-cola World Rankings as of July 2015 paired in Round One, and the remainder 27 sides (top 27 African teams in the world) who did not contest in Round One finding their fates in three pots in Round 2.
The 26 lowest-ranked teams were paired into 13 home-and-away series- yet based on their Fifa rankings in Round One.
The 13 Round One winners will advance to Round two to join the remaining 27 teams, paired in 20 home-and-away series for the latter round.
Nigeria- one of the teams who did not contest in Round One, owing to their No. 10 ranking in Africa- were among 13 teams drawn from Pot 1 in the Round 2, with Pot 2 and 3 housing seven teams apiece (according to their rankings).
The 20 winners from Round 2 will progress to the Group Stage tournament of the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers- which was simply referred to as Round 3 at Konstantin Palace.
The date and venue for Round 3 tournament will be confirmed by the tournament’s organising committee upon completion of Round 2. It will carry the format of five groups of four teams, with each group winner eligible for a solitary ticket to the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.
The two-legged Round One and Round 2 matches are foreseen to be played in the period between 5 & 13 October and 9 & 17 November, 2015, whilst the Round 3 tournament is expected to span between the period of 3 October, 2016, and 14 November, 2017.
Ties to be played between October 5 & 13
Somalia v Niger
South Sudan v Mauritania
Gambia v Namibia
Sao Tome e Principe v Ethiopia
Chad v Sierra Leone
Comoros v Lesotho
Dijibouti v Swaziland
Eritrea v Botswana
Seychelles v Burundi
Liberia v Guinea-Bissau
Central African Republic v Madagascar
Mauritius v Kenya
Tanzania v Malawi
The winners of each tie progress to round two.
Two-legged ties, played November 9/17:
Somalia/Niger v Cameroon
South Sudan/Mauritania v Tunisia
Gambia/Namibia v Guinea
Sao Tome e Principe/Ethiopia v Congo
Chad/Sierra Leone v Egypt
Comoros/Lesotho v Ghana
Djibouti/Swaziland v Nigeria
Eritrea/Botswana v Mali
Seychelles/Burundi v Congo DR
Liberia/Guinea-Bissau v Ivory Coast
Central African Republic/Madagascar v Senegal
Mauritius/Kenya v Cape Verde
Tanzania/Malawi v Algeria
Sudan v Zambia
Libya v Rwanda
Morocco v Equatorial Guinea
Mozambique v Gabon
Benin v Burkina Faso
Togo v Uganda
Angola v South Africa