In from Nifemi Daniel…
World football governing body, FIFA, seeded Nigeria, Algeria, Cote d’ Ivoire and 17 other African countries for the first and second qualifying rounds of the 2018 World Cup. The draws would hold on July 25 in Russian city of Saint Petersburg.
The 17 other countries are Ghana, Tunisia, Senegal, Cameroon, Egypt, DR Congo and South Africa.
The other teams in the top 20 are Congo, Cape Verde, Guinea, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Rwanda.
The first two rounds consist of home-and-away ties decided by goal aggregate, and the October and November matches will trim the field from 53 hopefuls to 20.
Among those expected to reach the third and final qualifying stage will be No. 1 ranked African national team Algeria and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations winners Cote d’ Ivoire.
FIFA used the July rankings to determine the seedings and the 26-team first round consists of teams placed 28 and lower.
First-round matches are scheduled to be staged between October 5 and 13 and another nine-day period — November 9-17 — have been set aside for the second round.
Teams reaching the third round will be split into five groups of four at a separate draw and the winners after six-matchday series go to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.
The best showings by Africa at the World Cup were Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) reaching the quarter-finals.
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