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While Morocco and Senegal have validated their ticket for the third and final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, other major African nations, such as Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon or Nigeria, will have to wait until November to shine… or fall.
Morocco and Senegal already qualified
The Atlas Lions and the Teranga Lions will spend a relatively serene month of November. The former won their three qualifying matches, all played at home, against Guinea-Bissau (5-0, 3-0) and Guinea (4-1), putting their best foot forward.
Benefits that should soften the criticism of part of the press and supporters against coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who considered the style of play offered not flamboyant enough. The latter did not tremble against Namibia (4-1, 3-1), and have so far managed a clear round.
Morocco and Senegal, who will participate in the next African Cup of Nations (CAN) in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, 2022, will now wait with the names of their opponents for the third and final round, on their way to Qatar. .
Algeria under threat from Burkina Faso
By largely dominating Niger in Blida (6-1) then in Niamey (4-0), Algeria took plenty of points and once again spread out their offensive power. But it is likely that the Fennecs will have to wait until November 15, and the reception of Burkina Faso, to hope to validate their qualification for the third round.
The Burkinabè Stallions have beaten Djibouti twice (4-0, 2-0), and have the same number of points as the reigning African champion (10). Before their reunion, the two selections will probably have, if the logic is respected, well negotiated their respective meeting against Djibouti (for Algeria) and Niger (for Burkina Faso).
The North Africans, better equipped collectively and individually, and who will have the advantage of welcoming their rivals to Blida, a fortress reputed to be almost impregnable, have the favor of the forecasts. But the Stallions have never been easy opponents for them.
The DRC can’t do it
It may well be trained by the Argentinian Hector Cuper, the ex-coach of Inter Milan and Egypt, and count in its workforce players like Cédric Bakambu, Chancel Mbemba or Christian Luyindama, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) fails to assume its status as favorite in Group J. After a sluggish start in September, sanctioned by two draws against Tanzania (1-1) and Benin (1-1), the Leopards finally thought having launched their qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup, beating Madagascar (2-0), on September 7 in Kinshasa.
But the return match, in Antananarivo, did not confirm this improvement, since the Congolese were dominated (0-1) by revengeful Malagasy. In their misfortune, they learned that Tanzania had won at the same time in Benin (1-0). Two days from the end, the DRC will therefore have to clear against Benin and Tanzania, which they will face in November, and who are ahead of them by two points, if they want to reach the third round.
Mauritania: end clap for Martins
Corentin Martins, 52, is no longer the coach of Mauritania. Appointed in October 2014, the former midfielder of the French team was sacked on October 11, the day after the draw against Tunisia in Nouakchott (0-0). More than this rather honorable result, Martins paid a high price for the defeats conceded during the first three days against Zambia (1-2), Equatorial Guinea (0-1), and Tunisia (0-3).
Ahmed Ould Yahya, the president of the federation, felt that the national team, now eliminated from the World Cup, needed an electric shock before the CAN. A competition in which the Mourabitounes had already participated in 2019 in Egypt, for the first time in their history. This second consecutive qualification will not have been enough for the Frenchman.
Cameroon-Ivory Coast, meeting in November
Unless there is an accident, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire will meet on November 15 for a decisive match to see who, the Indomitable Lions or the Elephants, will qualify for the third and final round. The former dominated Mozambique twice (3-1, 1-0), the latter filled up against Malawi (3-0, 2-1). Before meeting in Douala, the two contenders will undoubtedly have added three points to their harvest against the Mozambicans for Côte d’Ivoire and the Malawians for the Cameroonians.
With one point more than their direct competitor, the Ivorians are currently on a favorable tie, and the superior quality of their workforce makes them the favorites for qualification. One thing is certain: one of these two giants of African football will be ejected at the end of this second qualifying round.