2018 World Cup Qualifiers: CAF, Round 5 Preview

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Our football writer previews round five of the 2018 CAF World Cup qualifiers, which resume on Friday the 6th of October 2017. 

Another round of exciting CAF World Cup qualifiers are upon us, with Tunisia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Egypt all leading their respective groups. The biggest talking points are the fact that South Africa will have to replay Senegal in November, while the likes of Zambia and Ghana face the prospect of missing out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup, like Algeria and Cameroon. There is still a bit of time, meaning it’s do or die for some of Africa’s biggest giants.

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Friday 6 October

Mali 47/20 | Draw 21/10 | Ivory Coast 13/10 (21:00)
Mali will be hoping to claim their first win of the qualifying stages when they host Group C leaders, Ivory Coast. The hosts have been poor so far, sitting with just two points from their four matches played. Both their home encounters ended in goalless draws, and they will need a positive result to start climbing up the group ladder.

The Elephants suffered their first defeat last time out, going down 2-1 to Gabon, however, they still find themselves atop with just two games to go. The reverse tie ended 3-1 in Ivory Coast’s favour, and I’m expecting the same result to occur. It won’t be so straightforward, but the Elephants are tipped to come away with maximum points.

Saturday 7 October

South Africa 13/10 | Draw 2/1 | Burkina Faso 47/20 (15:00)
South Africa are now rooted to the foot of Group D with one point after suffering two defeats on the bounce against Cape Verde - both at home and away - while having the three points they collected against Senegal being taken away due to alleged corruption. On the other hand, Burkina Faso top the table with six points and will be looking to steer clear of second-placed Cape Verde, who have the same amount of points.

Bafana Bafana come into this one with a deplteded defence with regular players like Rivaldo Coetzee, Eric Mathoho and Thulani Hlatshwayo (captain) out of the clash, however, they’ve got a fantastic attack force and midfield. If the coach makes right selections the team might at least get a point. I’d go for a draw. 

Uganda 2/1 | Draw 2/1 | Ghana 15/10 (15:00)
Ghana travel to Uganda to take on the impressive Cranes in what is expected to be a cagey affair. The Ghanaians have been off the pace but managed to get their first victory under their belt when they smashed Congo 5-1 away from home.

Uganda have been tough to break down in Group E, with Mamelodi Sundowns shot-stopper, Denis Onyango, saving his country on a number of occasions. They sit second on the log with three clean sheets in four games. Uganda have to win if they are to stay in touching distance of Egypt. It’s hard to separate these two sides at the moment, making the draw the likely outcome.

Nigeria 9/20 | Draw 28/10 | Zambia 8/1 (18:00)
High-flying Nigeria will look to ensure qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup when they host Zambia this weekend. The Super Eagles have been ruthless so far, going undefeated with three wins from four matches played.

Zambia are Nigeria’s closest rivals, so if they fail to beat them, their hopes of automatic qualification are done and dusted. The reverse tie saw the Super Eagles pick up maximum points in Zambia, and I’m expecting the same. Get on the home win and include in all multiples.



Cameroon 9/10 | Draw 22/10 | Algeria 7/2 (18:00)
Group B underperformers, Cameroon and Algeria, go head-to-head in what should be a fiery encounter. Both sides are winless in the group and stand no chance of qualifying.

The 2018 World Cup will not have the AFCON champions and the team with arguably the best players on paper in the continent. Despite all the stars at their disposal, both countries have been dull to watch. It should be another stalemate here, get on!

Guinea 7/2 | Draw 21/10 | Tunisia 9/10 (19:00)
Tunisia will look to seal qualification when they take on Guinea, who can finish no higher than second, meaning they will miss out on 2018 FIFA World Cup participation. Tunisia humbled the National Elephants to a 2-0 scoreline, and will be aiming for the same sort of result here.

They could qualify with a draw, however, if DR Congo fail to claim maximum points in Libya. Guinea have lost three of their four games and haven’t given me any confidence to believe they can get something from this clash. Get on the away win!

Libya 34/10 | Draw 2/1 | DR Congo 1/1 (19:00)
Libya, who are rooted to the bottom of Group A with just three points, level with Guinea, but with a lesser goal difference, welcome a DR Congo side looking to push Tunisia all the way to ensure qualification.

The Leopards ran riot in their last meeting, smashing Libya 4-0 in their group opener. Dieumerci Mbokani has been in menacing form, and is the group’s top scorer, despite getting just two goals under his belt. With all to play, I’m expecting DR Congo to do all they can to get maximum points. It’s another away win, but I can’t see any other outcome.

Cape Verde 51/20 | Draw 2/1 | Senegal 12/10 (19:30)
Cape Verde and Senegal clash in what promises to be an epic Group D encounter. The Lions of Teranga were given a glimmer of hope when they found out that they had to replay their tie with South Africa, a game in which they lost.

Senegal are placed third on the log with five points, one behind the leaders, with a game in hand over their challenging rivals. Cape Verde were the whipping boys of the group, before they played South Africa. Senegal were 2-0 victors in their last encounter and should do enough to get the three points on offer – get on!

Morocco 5/10 | Draw 11/4 | Gabon 7/1 (21:00)
Morocco and Gabon go head-to-head in one of the most open groups in the qualifying stages. The hosts are the only unbeaten team in Group C as they hope to catch up on leaders, Ivory Coast. Even more impressively, the Atlas Lions have scored six goals without conceding.

Despite having Africa’s most prolific goalscorer in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gabon have been wasteful in front of goal. Yes they just beat Ivory Coast 2-1 away from home, but that was their first two goals of the group stages. Against Morocco’s rock-solid defence, they should have no chance. Back the home win here!

Sunday 8 October

Egypt 1/4 | Draw 5/1 | Congo 9/1 (19:00)

Egypt could guarantee their spot in next year’s FIFA World Cup if they take maximum points off Congo, and Uganda draw their matchup with Ghana. The hosts have been brilliant thus far, winning three of their four games played.

Congo sit last in the group, with no hope of qualifying. The home win offers the shortest price of the qualifiers, but rightfully so, in my opinion. In fact, with stars like Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Elneny, Egypt might be overpriced at 1/4. Get on the home win and include in all multiples!

QUAD TIPPED @ 5/1
Nigeria Win 9/20
Senegal Win 12/10
Morocco Win 5/10
Egypt Win 1/4



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