Ten African countries will be battling for their reserved five places in the 2022 Fifa World Cup to be played in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.
On Friday, March 25, the Democratic Republic of Congo will host Morocco as Cameroon entertain the former Africa Cup of Nations champions Algeria. Tunisia will be away to Mali as the newly crowned Afcon Champions Senegal make a trip to Egypt. Another mouth-watering clash will be between Nigeria who will be away in Ghana.
The second leg of these matches will be played on March 29 and the aggregate winners will qualify.
Which African country has never qualified for the World Cup?
While other teams are aiming at making another appearance in the prestigious competition, there are those that have never made it to the global stage despite numerous attempts.
A total of 41 countries in Africa have never qualified for the World Cup and Zambia tops the list. The Chipolopolo have made most attempts, 14, but to date they are unsuccessful.
Guinea and Kenya come in the second position having tried 13 times since the event was started in 1930. Ethiopia and Sudan have played 12 qualifiers in vain.
East Africa heavyweights Uganda, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe have tried 11 times to make it to the competition without success.
Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Benin, Gabon, Gambia, Libya, Mozambique, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Eswatini, Guinea-Bissau, Botswana, Mauritania, Rwanda, Somalia, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Seychelles, Djibouti, Eritrea, Mali, Sao Tome & Principe, Comoros, Central African Republic and South Sudan are other African countries still striving to qualify.
Who has qualified the most times?
Cameroon are the team that have played most times in the competition, seven. Their best outing was in 1990 when they reached the quarter-finals but were eliminated by England.
Then Nigeria are in the second position. The Super Eagles have played in six World Cups; they have advanced to the second round on three occasions -1994, 1998, 2014.
North Africa nations Morocco and Tunisia have represented Africa five times each. The best outing is for the former who reached the second round in 1986.
Algeria have made it to the tournament four times, the most recent coming in 2014 where they reached the knockout phase. Ivory Coast, Egypt, South Africa and Ghana have been on the global scene three times. It is the Black Stars who have managed to advance the furthest, the quarter-final in 2010.
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The Lions of Teranga from Senegal have made it to the World Cup twice, but their most memorable one was in 2002 when they reached the quarter-final. Another appearance was in 2018.
DR Congo, Angola and Togo have qualified once.