Sunday Sep 05, 2021. 09:00
Africa’s 2022 World Cup Qualifying tournament will be geared up for Matchday 2 of the group stage, running from Sunday 5 to Tuesday 7 September, as 20 further fixtures are played across the continent.
The pick of matches is definitely Monday night’s meeting of Ivory Coast and Cameroon in Abidjan, with the Elephants needing to make up ground after they opened their Group D account with a 0-0 draw in Mozambique, while the Indomitable Lions started with a 2-0 victory over Malawi on Friday night.
Sunday opens with an East Africa derby between Rwanda and Kenya in Kigali, followed by Togo hosting Namibia in Lome, before the night kick-off sees Egypt head to Franceville to take on Gabon – with Pharaohs coach Hossam El Badry hoping for a better performance compared to their disjointed 1-0 win over Angola last midweek.
“The first match is always difficult, and we didn’t even have time to prepare, except tactically. The players were also very tired,” said El Badry. “We are not satisfied with the performance, of course, but we are still at the beginning.”
Monday, aside from the heavyweight clash of Ivory Coast and Cameroon, also sees Group E leaders Mali looking to take a strangelhold on top spot by winning in Entebbe against Uganda, a key Group I clash between Guinea and Morocco in Conakry, while South Africa will look to claim the scalp of Ghana when the Black Stars head to ‘Soccer City’ in Soweto.
Bafana Bafana opened their Group G campaign with a 0-0 draw away to neighbours Zimbabwe, with new coach Hugo Broos hoping his team can sharpen up in the final third.
“First of all I was happy with the mentality. It was good. Defensively, I think it was alright also. We didn’t give many chances to Zimbabwe and the defence was there. I am happy about that. But on the other side you have to score also to win games and today was not so good offensively. I think we have to work on that in the next weeks and months because you have to score to win,” said the Belgian.
Tuesday will be the busiest day of this international window, with no less than 10 matches across. Highlights include former African champions Zambia and Tunisia meeting in Ndola, Senegal tackling Congo in Brazzaville, and Nigeria away to the Cape Verde Islands.
“From a heavy grass to a very dry synthetic pitch, we have to show our solidarity and manage this position,” said Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr after a 2-0 home win over Liberia on Friday.
Tuesday also sees Burkina Faso ‘host’ Algeria meet in Marrakesh, with the pair battling for control at the top of Group A after winning their openers against Niger and Djibouti respectively.
“All adversaries must be respected,” explained Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi. “This [8-0 win over Djibouti] is the best way to prepare for the match against Burkina Faso, which is more difficult to play.”
African 2022 World Cup Qualifying fixtures, 5-7 September 2021
Sunday 5 September
15:00: Rwanda v Kenya
18:00: Togo v Namibia
21:00: Gabon v Egypt
Monday 6 September
15:00: Djibouti v Niger
15:00: Uganda v Mali
15:00: Benin v DR Congo
18:00: Liberia v Central African Republic
18:00: South Africa v Ghana
18:00: Guinea v Morocco
21:00: Ivory Coast v Cameroon
Tuesday 7 September
15:00: Zambia v Tunisia
15:00: Malawi v Mozambique
15:00: Tanzania v Madagascar
18:00: Equatorial Guinea v Mauritania
18:00: Cape Verde v Nigeria
18:00: Ethiopia v Zimbabwe
18:00: Congo v Senegal
21:00: Burkina Faso v Algeria
21:00: Angola v Libya
21:00: Sudan v Guinea-Bissau