The coach of the South Africa senior national soccer team Hugo Broos unhappy about how the World Cup qualifiers in Africa differs from Europe.
Africa has a total of five slots in the final tournament whiles Europe has a total of 13 slots.
Format For World Cup Qualifiers In Europe
Group stage: 5 groups of 5 teams and 5 groups of 6 teams (with the 4 teams that make the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals put into the smaller groups) with group winners qualifying for the World Cup finals.
Play-off stage: The 10 group runners-up would be joined by the best 2 Nations League group winners, based on the Nations League overall ranking, that finished outside the top two of their qualifying group. These 12 teams will be drawn into three play-off paths, playing two rounds of single-match play-offs (semi-finals and finals, with the home teams to be drawn), with the 3 path winners qualifying for the World Cup.
Format For World Cup Qualifiers In Africa
A previous proposal to merge the qualification rounds for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with those for the World Cup was turned down after a CAF meeting on 11 June 2018.
CAF reverted to the format used for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification competition.
First round: 28 teams (ranked 27–54) played home-and-away over two legs. The 14 winners advanced to the second round.
Second round: 40 teams (ranked 1–26 and 14 first-round winners) will be divided into ten groups of four teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The ten group winners advance to the third round.
Third round: The ten second round group winners play home-and-away over two legs. The five winners qualify for the World Cup.
As stated, the winners from each group in Europe will automatically qualify whiles the runners-up compete in the play-offs but in Africa the winner from each group will have to compete in a play-off and runners-up drops without a ticket for the major tournament.
According to the South African coach, he hopes the format of the World Cup qualifiers in Africa will have to change for the 2026 World Cup.
As written in a post on the ‘Bafana Bafana’s’ Facebook page, the Belgian manager stated “It is easier for good teams in Europe to qualify for the World Cup than [good teams ] in Africa.”
“In Africa you have Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. You already have eight teams there! I hope for 2026 this will change… it is a pity they have waited so long to do that, because Africa deserves more teams.”