Less than 48 hours before the eagerly awaited 2013 Africa Cup of Nations draw is held in Johannesburg Thursday night, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has introduced another interesting twist to the qualifying procedure.
The continent's football governing body yesterday succumbed to requests from the un-seeded countries to have a 'fair qualifying system' by introducing a third pot (Pot C) that will present countries like Uganda an opportunity of playing first legs away from home.
In the previous arrangement, all seeded teams had been offered the privilege of playing their first legs away from home, and hosting their opponents in the return fixtures.
"I am glad CAF has decided to review the drawing procedure. That will be crucial. It will present a fair and level ground for the unseeded teams like Uganda. Let's now wait and see where the draw takes us and plan accordingly," FUFA president Lawrence Mulindwa stated.
According to the new qualifying procedure released by CAF, the 15 seeded teams represented by 15 balls will be placed in Pot A, while 15 other teams will be in Pot B. Pot C will have 30 balls representing teams from both Pots A and B.
If ball A is drawn first from Pot C, it means that the team drawn from Pot A will play its first match at home and the team drawn from Pot B will play its second match at home.
Likewise, if ball B is drawn first from Pot C, then the team drawn from Pot B will play its first match at home and the team from Pot A will play its second match at home.
The Cranes eliminated Congo Brazzaville 5-3 on aggregate following an emphatic 4-0 second leg victory to earn a slot in the final Nations Cup qualifying play-offs.
South Africa qualified as hosts and thus will not be involved in the qualifiers that will be played between September 7-9 and October 12-14. The draw will be conducted at Tanz Cafe-Emperors Palace, Ekurhuleni near the international airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 30 delegates from across the continent will be in attendance with Mulindwa representing Uganda.