Yesterday, the remaining 10 African countries were paired against each other, for the 5 continental tickets to the World Cup in Brazil next year. The draws threw up some really interesting fixtures and there are some exciting games to look forward to, when the two legs are played. The first legs will be played between October 11 and 15, while the return legs are scheduled between November 15 and 19. I’m going for an all West African cast, to represent the continent in 2014.
Cote d’Ivoire vs Senegal
Senegal vs Ivory Coast will be quite an interesting game, but I think the Ivorians will have enough to qualify. Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Gervinho and Kolo Toure have not quite faded completely, since they failed yet again to lift the African Cup of Nations this year and will be itching to probably bow out with a decent showing in Brazil next year. Demba Ba and Papisse Cisse who are suppose to supply the goals, are not exactly firing on all cylinders for their clubs in Europe.
Ethiopia vs Nigeria
We got the easiest draw! But we need to be disciplined and focused to ensure we qualify. Keshi is an experienced coach and should prepare the team well. No stories. No drama. Only a Brazil 2014 ticket. In South Africa, on our way to being crowned African champions, we needed Victor Moses to score two penalties, before we defeated the Ethiopians. Quite frankly, with the calibre of players we have, we can beat them home and away.
Tunisia vs Cameroon
Cameroon is no longer the force they used to be, but they can’t be waved aside. It will be a tricky one. However, I think the West Africans will edge this and get a slot at the World Cup.
Ghana vs Egypt
It’s a no-brainer. Has to be Ghana vs Egypt. It will be an exciting tie and the winner will edge it narrowly. Previous results and stats count for nothing now. The winner over two legs gets the ticket. I’ll go for Ghana.
Burkina Faso vs Algeria
I’m going to stick out my neck for the Burkina Babes. They finished second in the African Nations Cup this year and are no pushovers. But they have to be careful with the North Africans’ antics.