Fair qualifying 2014 World Cup draw for Bafana

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pretoria - The 2010 FIFA World Cup host, Bafana Bafana, were drawn on Saturday in an easy and winnable group A of the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

During the preliminary draw held at the Marina da Gl¢ria in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Bafana were drawn with underdogs neighbouring Botswana, Central African Republic and Somalia or Ethiopia.

Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane, who also attended the draw, said: "It is a fair draw, but something we cannot take for granted.

"Botswana is a threat and their current form in the Afcon qualifiers is proof of that. The Central Africa Republic is a surprise package and if they go unchecked, could cause us problems.

"They have also done well in their difficult Afcon group, and look almost certain to qualify. Ethiopia recently drew with Nigeria, so they can't be taken lightly and could be a tough customer.

"I am happy with the draw and also confident that we can do well. Make no mistake though, it's not going to be easy because the level is higher here, so we have to double our efforts to make it to Brazil."

Bafana's opponents, Botswana, have already qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, their first even qualification for the showpiece.

They are top of Group 11 with 17 points, and have not lost any of their seven 2012 Afcon qualifiers, winning five and drawing two. Botswana is followed by Tunisia and Malawi on 10 points each.

The Central African Republic is second in Group 4 of the Afcon qualifiers and level on seven points with Morocco. Tanzania is third with four points. In Group 2, Ethiopia is third with four points.

They are behind Guinea and Nigeria, who have 10 and seven points respectively. Sudan is placed second in Group 9 level on 10 points each, with Ghana who are top. Third is Congo with three points. Somali has not entered the qualification process of the 2012 Afcon.

The African teams were divided into 10 groups for qualifying matches beginning in November next year.

In group B of the African zone, there is Tunisia, Cape Verde Islands, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea or Madagascar.

Group C: Cote d'Ivoire, Morocco, Gambia, Chad or Tanzania.
Group D: Ghana, Zambia, Sudan, Lesotho or Burundi.
Group E: Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger, Sao Tome e Principe or Congo.
Group F: Nigeria, Malawi, Seychelles or Kenya, Djibouti or Namibia.
Group G: Egypt, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Comoros or Mozambique.
Group H: Algeria, Mali, Benin, Eritrea or Rwanda.
Group I: Cameroon, Libya, Guinea-Bissau or Togo, Swaziland or Congo DR.
Group J: Senegal, Uganda, Angola, Mauritius or Liberia.

Fifty-two out of the 53 national associations affiliated to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will take part in the qualifiers to determine Africa's five slots in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The qualifiers begin with a first round of 12 two-legged knock-out ties to be held between 11 and 15 November 2011.The ties involve the 24 lowest-ranked teams, according to FIFA World Rankings.

The 12 winners will then join the remaining 28 CAF entrants (among them South Africa) in the second round (to be held between June 2012 and September 2013), which will consist of 10 groups of four.

The winners of each group 10 countries in total will advance to a third round of five two-legged knock-out ties.

The five winners of these ties, to be held in October and November 2013, will advance to the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup will feature 32 teams. As host, Brazil is the only nation that doesn't have to qualify and no automatic place has been given to the defending champions, Spain.