EXPLAINED: CAF’s format for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

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The quadrennial men’s National Teams tournament is set to be staged in Qatar from November 21 to December 18 in 2022. 

France won the last edition with unprecedented run from the group stage to laying their hands on the prestigious trophy for the second time since 1998. 

The qualifiers for next year’s edition was affected by COVID-19 pandemic but all six continental confederations have resumed their qualifiers and are few matches away from getting their representative for the biggest international football showpiece. 

Africa, Asia, South America have the same number of representatives, 5 with Europe submitting the most, 13. 

Oceana and North and Central America present 1 and 4 respectively to complete the 32 nations competition. 

Confederations of African (CAF) adopted the 2013 World Cup qualifying format to determine the five nations that will represent the continent in 2022. 

The current qualifiers in Africa is left with two games to complete the group stage round. 

In the first round, 28 team ranked from 54 to 27 on FIFA rankings are paired to play home and away ties to gain a slot for the group stages. 14 out of the 28 joins 40 team ranked from 1-26 for the second round( group stages). 

The group stage is made of ten groups of four where the first placed in each group will advance to the play-off. 

The play-off is termed as the third round which is the final stage. Here the 10 that progressed from the groups will be paired for home and away ties. 

Hence, five winners out of the ten gets to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Ghana is second in Group G a point behind South Africa who is on 10 points. Ethiopia follows with 3 while Zimbabwe occupies the bottom with 1. 

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