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Senegal, Egypt & Algeria take centre stage in Thursday’s CAF World Cup qualifiers

football05 June 2024 07:30| © Backpage TXT
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Senegal fans @ getty images

With the CAF 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers well and truly underway, African giants such as Senegal, Egypt and Algeria will all be involved in Thursday’s list of keenly anticipated fixtures.

Sitting comfortably at the top of Group A with six points, the Pharaohs are preparing to do battle against Burkina Faso in their latest World Cup qualifying assignment, with their fixture set to start at the popular Cairo International Stadium.

Mohamed Salah and his charges bagged a convincing 6-0 victory against Djibouti in their initial World Cup qualifier before recording a 2-0 win against Sierra Leone in their second fixture.

Burkina Faso currently trail Egypt by two points in second place, following a 1-1 draw with Guinea-Bissau and a 3-0 victory against Ethiopia in their first set of qualifiers.

Then, Group B table toppers Senegal are scheduled to face DR Congo at Stade Me Abdoulaye Wade Stadium in their third qualifying encounter.

As it stands, Senegal accumulated four points from their first two qualifiers, after jotting down a 4-0 victory against South Sudan before sharing the spoils with Togo in a 0-0 stalemate thereafter.

DR Congo, who occupy third position in Group B, go into their next tie on the back of one win and one defeat in their initial set of qualifiers.

Elsewhere, Algeria and Guinea will go toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting fixtures on the African continent this week, with their game set to commence at Stade Nelson Mandela on Thursday night.

The Desert Warriors, as they’re affectionately known, sit at the top of Group G with six points to their names after two matches.

Meanwhile, the National Elephants enter their next game in third position after a 2-1 win against Uganda and also, a shock 1-0 defeat to Botswana.


Thursday, 6 June

Malawi v Sao Tome

Libya v Mauritius

Mauritania v Sudan

Congo v Niger

Guinea-Bissau v Ethiopia

Mali v Ghana

Senegal v DR Congo

Benin v Rwanda

Tunisia v Equatorial Guinea

Egypt v Burkina Faso

Algeria v Guinea

Tunisia triumph as Africa’s World Cup qualifiers resume

football05 June 2024 14:00| © Backpage TXT
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Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane © Backpagepix

Tunisia claimed the headline triumph as Africa’s 2026 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers resumed with five matches across the continent on Wednesday evening.

A late penalty from Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane saw them defeat Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in the late kick-off in Tunis.

It was the Carthage Eagles’ third win from as many matches in Group H and saw them open a two-point lead at the top of the standings.

In the early-evening matches, Sierra Leone secured their first win in Group A by defeating minnows Djibouti 2-1 in El Jadida, thanks to goals from Curtis Davies and Augustus Kargbo (either side of an equaliser from Gabriel Dadzie).

Central Africa Republic had the same achievement in Group I, as they edged Chad 1-0 in Oujda, courtesy of Venuste Baboula’s first-half strike.

Namibia and Liberia shared the spoils in Johannesburg, drawing 1-1 in their Group H match after goals from Tjipenandjambi Karuuombe and Terry Sackor respectively, while Togo were held 1-1 in Lome by Group B rivals Liberia.

The hosts claimed the lead through Khaled Narey, but were pegged back by an own goal from Roger Aholou.

Poor Aholou cannot get a break at the moment, having also scored an own goal in the recent CAF Champions League final which saw his team, Esperance de Tunis, lose 1-0 on aggregate to Al Ahly.

The World Cup Qualifiers will continue on Thursday 6 June with nine matches across the continent, headlined by Algeria hosting Guinea, a West African derby between Mali and Ghana in Bamako, and a potential thriller between Senegal and DR Congo.


Wednesday 5 June

Sierra Leone 2-1 Djibouti

Togo 1-1 South Sudan

Namibia 1-1 Liberia

Central African Republic 1-0 Chad

Tunisia 1-0 Equatorial Guinea

CAF World Cup qualifiers to kick-off and take centre stage

football04 June 2024 04:00| © Backpage TXT
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Namibia © Gallo Images

The next fixtures of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers will go underway on Wednesday, 5 June 2024 and the stakes have been raised ahead of the third match day out of 10 to be played.

These matches will determine which teams will take part in the next instalment of the showpiece to be hosted in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The winners of the groups will qualify for the next World Cup finals, and the second-placed teams will enter a playoff round which will decide which two sides will get spots in the tournament.

The first match in a week which will be packed with African football action is from Group H, Namibia who are currently first will go up against Liberia who are placed third at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg.

Namibia made history as they made it to the knockout stage of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) for the very first time earlier this year, and now will hope to keep up the momentum as they seek to secure their maiden World Cup qualification.

Another fixture in the group will be Tunisia facing Equatorial Guinea at the Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi. Tunisia has gone through a spell of underwhelming performances, needing penalties to beat New Zealand when they played an international friendly in March at the Cairo International Stadium.

The North African side has now gone five games in a row without a win in normal time, losing twice and grabbing three draws. This run saw the team unexpectedly crash out of the 2023 Afcon in the group stages


Equatorial Guinea will be hoping to resume their World Cup qualifying campaign on a positive note, but they will have a difficult task in facing a team that has won five of their last seven meetings against them, with one draw since June 2012.

There will also be fixtures played from Group A, B and I. Sierra Leone play against Djibouti, Central African Republic go up against Chad and Togo will take on South Sudan.

Fixtures, 5 June 2024

Namibia v Liberia (18:00)

Sierra Leone v Djibouti (18:00)

Central African Republic v Chad (18:00)

Togo v South Sudan (18:00)

Tunisia v Equatorial Guinea (21:00)

Eto’o apologises to Cameroon coach Brys

football30 May 2024 09:47| © AFP
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Samuel Eto’o © Getty Images

Former Cameroonian star forward and now football federation president Samuel Eto’o apologised on Thursday to national team coach Marc Brys, with whom he had been involved in a heated exchange this week.

The ex-Barcelona striker also confirmed Brys would remain in his position after it was announced the Belgian was to be replaced as head coach of Cameroon on Wednesday.

“I apologise because during our first unfortunate meeting, there was a lot of emotion… but the Cameroonian people are more important than us, and it is for them that we must work,” said Eto’o at a press conference.

Eto’o was referring to an incident captured on video during his first meeting with Brys, which was widely shared on social media on Tuesday.

The pair were seen to engage in a heated argument, before Brys left abruptly.

“Your mission is not an easy one, despite your qualities and experience, but you should know that you will have our support,” added the two-time Africa Cup of Nations winner.

Brys was appointed to the role in April by Cameroon’s sport ministry, much to the astonishment of the country’s football federation (Fecafoot) and its president Eto’o wrote to the ministry to denounce its “illegal” appointment of the 62-year-old.

Fecafoot said it regretted not being involved “closely, nor remotely” in the selection process for the new coach and his staff.

Belgian Brys will now oversee Cameroon’s next two crucial matches in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, against Cape Verde on 8 June and Angola three days later.

Chiefs star, ex-PSL veteran in Mozambique’s World Cup squad

football23 May 2024 13:20

By:Peter Kanjere
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Rlias Pelembe © Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs defender Edmilson Dove and former PSL veteran Elias Pelembe have made the cut for Mozambique’s Mambas squad.

Mambas coach Chiquinho Conde has named the final 25-member squad ahead of the African qualifiers for the 2026 Fifa World Cup finals in the US and Canada.

Conde has obviously gone for the right blend of youth and experience with another notable inclusion in the squad being Reinildo Mandava of Atletico Madrid.

The Spain-based left-back is among the experienced players in the squad alongside the 41-year-old former Royal AM, SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns winger Pelembe.

Mozambique begin the race towards the World Cup ultimate place by hosting Somalia on 7 June 7 before traveling to Guinea three days later.

The Mambas were among the finalists for the last Africa Cup of Nations finals held in Ivory Coast but failed to get past the group stages.

Therefore, bidding for a ticket to the World Cup finals might as well be a matter of banking on a miracle for the former Portuguese colony.

New Nigeria coach Finidi demands commitment from top stars

football13 May 2024 12:00| © AFP
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Finidi George © Gallo Images

New Nigeria coach Finidi George has demanded total commitment from his top players, as the team aims to get their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign back on track after a faltering start.

Finidi was presented to the media as the country’s new coach to succeed the Portuguese Jose Peseiro, whose contract was not renewed after guiding Nigeria to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in February, in Abuja on Monday.

His immediate tasks are two 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin early next month.

Nigeria are third in their qualifying group with two points from as many games, while South Africa are second on three points.

The three-time African champions welcome South Africa to the southern town of Uyo on June 7, before they travel to Abidjan for another qualifying match against bottom-team Benin three days later.

“Nigeria comes first, that’s what I expect from every player I invite,” he told reporters.

“You have to be playing in your club and you must have the commitment.

“The first targets are to qualify for the World Cup and Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations) and a win over South Africa will set the tone.”

The former Ajax winger maintained he has “a tough skin” to withstand the pressure that comes with leading the team of a country with over 200 million people.

The 53-year-old has signed a year’s contract with an option for an additional year.

His salary was not disclosed, but he said he hopes to do well enough to secure an improved deal.

“The salary is good enough for me, it’s not as much as that of (Jose) Peseiro,” said Finidi, who led Enyimba to a record ninth Nigerian league title last season.

“Money is good but if you add value to what you do, the money will come.

“Then they can come and ask ‘Coach, how much do you want?’.”

LaLiga star says Bafana Bafana is the team to watch

football09 May 2024 12:40

By:Peter Kanjere
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bafana bafana @ Getty images

Spanish LaLiga star Bertrand Traore says Bafana Bafana is the team to watch in the forthcoming international tournaments, following the team’s impressive showing at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Ivory Coast.

The winger for Burkina Faso said this in a virtual press conference from LaLiga’s Southern Africa office hosted for selected African reporters recently.

Traore said Bafana Bafana did exceptionally well to reach the Afcon semifinals before they lost 4-2 to Nigeria on post-match penalties, following a one-all draw in regulation time.

“For me, South Africa did very well. They were one of the best teams at the tournament and deserved to reach the semifinals,” he said.

The Villareal FC star added that Hugo Broos’s men showed plenty of potential, which could be key in the qualifiers for the next Afcon edition and the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers for Africa.

“Seeing them at the last-four stage was a very big achievement. They need to keep on working hard. I think they will be a serious opponent in the next three years,” the ex-Aston Villa man said.

Bafana Bafana should hope to better their bronze medal finish of the last Afcon edition when qualifiers for the 2025 competition resume next month.

In Ivory Coast, South Africa overcame a 2-0 loss to Mali in the opening game for the 2023 Afcon to thrash Namibia 4-0, hold Tunisia 0-0 then beat Morocco 2-0 to reach the quarterfinals. The 1996 Afcon champions went on to see off Cape Verde 2-1 via post-match penalties in the quarterfinals following a goalless stalemate in regulation time to make the last-four cut.

The South Africans eventually lost to Nigeria before winning a bronze medal after edging out the Democratic Republic of Congo 6-5 on post-match penalties.

Meanwhile, the draw for the 2025 Afcon first-round games is yet to take place after the conclusion of the preliminary round matches involving low-ranked teams.

Broos and his men return to the battlefield in June when they face Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers in an opener for Group C which comprises Lesotho, Benin, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

Nigeria search for Peseiro replacement ahead of World Cup qualifiers

football08 March 2024 08:00| © AFP
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Jose Peseiro © Backpagepix

Nigeria football bosses on Friday announced that applications were open for the job of national head coach to replace Jose Peseiro ahead of crucial World Cup qualifiers.

Peseiro stepped down after leading the country to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations last month where they lost 2-1 to hosts Ivory Coast.

The 63-year-old Portuguese met the target of reaching the semifinals, but opted to move on after negotiations reported to be mainly over salary broke down.

Applications must be received no later than 12 March, according to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) announcement.

Former Tanzania coach Emmanuel Amuneke has been widely linked with the job after he assisted Samson Siasia and Augustine Eguavoen previously.

The new coach will lead the team to two crucial 2026 World Cup qualifiers in June at home against South Africa and away to neighbours Benin.

Nigeria are third in their World Cup qualifying group with two points from as many matches.

Rwanda lead the group with four points, while South Africa are second on three points.

Lesotho and Zimbabwe are the other teams in the group with the overall winner qualifying automatically for the World Cup in the United States in two years.

Ziyech strikes as Morocco win while Ghana, South Africa crash

football21 November 2023 13:40| © AFP
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Hakim Ziyech © Backpage Pix

Hakim Ziyech scored from a 40-metre drive as shock 2022 World Cup semifinalists Morocco beat 10-man Tanzania 2-0 on Tuesday when they began their campaign to qualify for the next finals.


The Galatasaray winger struck 28 minutes into the 2026 qualifier in Dar es Salaam and Tanzania fell further behind when Lusajo Mwaikenda conceded an own goal eight minutes after halftime.

Tanzania, who are ranked 108 places below Morocco, were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half after Novatus Miroshi was red-carded following a second caution.

While Morocco made a winning start in Group E after receiving a first round bye last week when Eritrea withdrew, Zambia suffered a surprise 2-1 loss to Niger in the same section.

It was the first competitive defeat for former Chelsea and West Ham United manager Avram Grant since taking charge of Zambia last December.

A superb solo goal by Myziane Maolida just before halftime gave Comoros a 1-0 victory over Ghana in Moroni and first place in Group I with six points, two more than top seeds Mali.

Maolida took possession close to the centre circle, dribbled past several opponents and beat goalkeeper Richard Ofori with a shot from inside the box.

Comoros also shocked Ghana at the last Africa Cup of Nations by winning 3-2 – a result that condemned the Black Stars to a first-round exit.

Losing will intensify the pressure on Ghana coach and former Premier League manager Chris Hughton after three defeats in four matches.

Rwanda adapted much better than South Africa to a rain-drenched artificial pitch in Group C in Butare and won 2-0 to end a 12-match unbeaten run by the visitors.

Sloppy defending by Nkosinathi Sibisi and Khuliso Mudau gifted goals to Innocent Nshuti and Gilbert Mugisha within 28 minutes as the home side used a route-one approach to good effect.


South Africa, however, persisted with short passes that often went astray and they seldom threatened to get back into the game.

– Shock frontrunners –

Rwanda are the shock frontrunners with four points, South Africa have three and top seeds Nigeria are among three countries with two.

Cameroon drew in Libya without goalkeeper Andre Onana, who has returned to Manchester United after suffering an unspecified injury in a victory over Mauritius last Friday.

Olivier Ntcham converted a penalty for the Indomitable Lions, whose eight World Cup appearances is an African record, and Abdulmunem Aleiyan levelled as halftime approached in Benghazi.

Cameroon top Group D on goal difference from Cape Verde and Libya with each country collecting four points from two outings.

Senegal regained first place in Group B, but only on goal difference from Sudan after being held 0-0 by Togo in Lome. Both have four points, one more than the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tunisia were another nation to return to the top as veteran Youssef Msakni scored off a late penalty to snatch a 1-0 Group H win over Malawi in Lilongwe.


The six-time World Cup qualifiers have six points, the same number as Equatorial Guinea, who are expected to pose the biggest threat to the Tunisians.

Burkina Faso rose to second in Group A behind Egypt after a 3-0 win over Ethiopia with Aston Villa forward Bertrand Traore coming off the bench to score the second goal from a penalty.

Serhou Guirassy, who has scored 15 goals for Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart this season, failed to find the net for Guinea, who suffered a shock 1-0 Group G loss to Botswana in Francistown.

The next two rounds of qualifying are scheduled for June 2024 followed by six more the following year.

The nine group winners are guaranteed places at the 2026 finals, which will feature a record 48 teams in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

There is the possibility of a 10th African qualifier as the four best-ranked runners-up enter play-offs and the winners go to an inter-continental tournament with two places up for grabs.

Morocco win to wrap up first block of Africa’s qualifiers

football21 November 2023 13:00| © Backpage TXT
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Morocco celebrate © Backpage Pix

Morocco claimed an opening win on Tuesday night to wrap up Africa’s first two matchdays in the 2026 World Cup Qualifying competition.

The 2022 World Cup semifinalists played just one match across the first two matchdays (as Group E has been reduced to five teams with the withdrawal of Eritrea), but they already top their group with three points thanks to a 2-0 away triumph over 10-man Tanzania in Dar es Salaam.

The Atlas Lions secured the three points thanks to an opening strike from Hakim Ziyech and an own goal by the Taifa Stars’ Bakari Mwamnyeto – and the hosts also had Novatus Miroshi sent off midway through the second half for a second bookable offence.

Morocco’s win means four teams in Group E sit on three points, including Niger, who were 2-1 winners over Zambia at Stade de Marrakesh thanks to first-half strikes from Amadou Moutari and Boubacar Goumey.

The afternoon kick-offs were headlined by South Africa missing out on the chance to go clear at the top of Group C – instead they were leapfrogged by their opponents Rwanda, who claimed a 2-0 win in Butare thanks to first-half goals from Innocent Nshuti and Gilbert Mugisha.

In the same Group C, Lesotho and Benin drew 0-0 in Durban.

A late penalty from Youssef Msakni saw Tunisia win 1-0 away to Malawi in Lilongwe to join Equatorial Guinea on six points at the top of Group H, while Burkina Faso registered a first win in Group A by trumping Ethiopia 3-0 at Stade El Abdi, via goals from Ibrahim Toure, Bertrand Traore and Dango Ouattara.

Botswana claimed an impressive scalp by defeating Guinea 1-0 in Francistown (with a second-half strike from Kabelo Seakanyeng), and they were joined on three points in Group G by Uganda, who beat Somalia 1-0 in Berkane thanks to an early goal from Rogers Mato.

In the early evening, Cape Verde registered a first win in Group D, defeating Eswatini 2-0 in Nelspruit thanks to first-half goals from Ryan Mendes and Jamiro Monteiro, while the other games in the group saw Libya and Cameroon draw 1-1 in Benghazi (to join the Blue Sharks in a three-way tie at the top on four points), while Mauritius and Angola played out a 0-0 stalemate in St Pierre.

Comoros rose to the top of Group I thanks to a famous 1-0 win over Ghana in Moroni – with Myziane Maolida’s strike late in the first half proving to be the difference – while Senegal went top of Group B on four points but would have been frustrated at drawing 0-0 away to Togo in Lome, while rivals South Sudan and Mauritania also played out a goalless stalemate in their clash in Diamniadio.

Namibia’s Brave Warriors are on the board in Group H after a 2-0 win away win over Sao Tome & Principe in Agadir, with Prins Tjieza and an own goal from Goncalves Mateus handing coach Collin Benjamin’s charges all three points.

Africa’s WCQ tournament will resume in June of 2024.

African WCQ results, Tuesday 21 November

Botswana 1-0 Guinea

Eswatini 0-2 Cape Verde

Ethiopia 0-3 Burkina Faso

Lesotho 0-0 Benin

Malawi 0-1 Tunisia

Rwanda 2-0 South Africa

Somalia 0-1 Uganda

Comoros 1-0 Ghana

Libya 1-1 Cameroon

Mauritius 0-0 Angola

Sao Tome & Principe 0-2 Namibia

South Sudan 0-0 Mauritania

Togo 0-0 Senegal

Niger 2-1 Zambia

Tanzania 0-2 Morocco

Bafana lost Rwanda clash in the opening stages – Broos

football21 November 2023 12:20
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Hugo Broos @ Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana blew their hopes of World Cup success in Rwanda early on in Tuesday’s Group C qualifier, claimed coach Hugo Broos, while blaming the pitch and arduous travel for his team’s woes on Tuesday.

South Africa were beaten 2-0 by the 140th ranked side in an embarrassing setback when they have a chance to go well clear at the top of the group.

“I think we lost the game in the first 25 minutes, we were not ready for the kick and rush football of Rwanda,” Broos told the post-match press conference after the loss in the southern town of Butare.

“I told the players that they have to be careful of that in the first 20-25 minutes, we gave them two presents, two goals, players were ready to go into duels. The second goal we had the ball and they took it and scored.

“After that, we changed something, we asked the boys to put more pressure and then you saw the second half and Rwanda didn’t come near the 16 metres except for one shot and the rest they defended.

“That’s how it should have been from the first minute. Our start was bad and we paid with two goals. You lose with 11, you win with 11, we didn’t have answers,” Broos added

The veteran coach, however, made much of the water-logged pitch and the three hour bus trip to the venue after landing in Kigali on Sunday.

“When you see the first 20 minutes it’s unbelievable that a qualifier of a World Cup is played on such a pitch. It’s impossible. But OK, it is what it is and I think Fifa has to be stricter on the rules where you going to play, we are talking about professional football, we’re talking about qualifiers of the biggest tournament.

“It’s not normal to arrive in a country and then travel three hours with a bus before you’re at the final destination. I will not say it’s the reason we lost the game, not at all, but I think those things have to change.

“We’re talking about professional football and this pitch is not professional, and you don’t let an opponent travel three hours from an airport for their destination, this is only my remark, nothing to do with the defeat of today,” Broos concluded.

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