Surprisingly, Ethiopia is likely to be the only nation representing East Africa in the World Cup qualification two leg playoffs. The country was the sole representative from the region at the Africa Nations Cup final in South Africa and is mighty close to reach the playoffs. The playoffs appear to, once again, be dominated by nations from West and North Africa. It is quite likely that six West African nations will reach the stage, while three nations from North Africa are expected in the next round. Ethiopia is preparing to become the flagship of East African football. Seven-time African champions Egypt have already qualified for the next stage with 12 points from four matches, and Tunisia is leading its group, five points clear with 10 points. Algeria is the third nation who is expected to represent North Africa. Although Mali is second in group “H” with seven points, two less than group leaders Algeria, the one most likely to finish on top of the table is Algeria, who will host Mali at home for the final group match. With a final group game against Zambia in Accra, Ghana appear hot favorites to win group D, although it is currently Zambia who is leading with 10 points and Ghana is second one point below them. The group E qualification is to be decided today, with group leaders Congo hosting runner up Burkina Faso. The first has 10 points with the other having six. Cote d’Ivoire is leading its group and is four points clear and the group’s decisive match against second place Tanzania is today. Two points clear at the top Nigeria are favoured to go through after their group final match against second place Malawi. Cameroon needs to win its away match today against third place DR of Congo. The group final match is in Yaoundé Cameroon hosting Libya currently on top of the table. Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, DR of Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon and Senegal are the likely candidates for the playoffs. If Ethiopia goes through, they will come up against the best teams on the African continent who will test their mettle yet again.
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