Africa: Format of the Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

The African qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will held in three rounds; preliminary round, group stage and playoffs.

1. Preliminary Round

The 26 highest ranked teams, according to the official FIFA ranking will be exempted from the preliminary round leaving 28 participating teams. Of these 28 teams, the 14 highest ranked teams according to the FIFA ranking (released on 25 July 2019) will play against the 14 least ranked teams (the 1st leg will be played at home of the lower ranked teams).

The 28 teams are Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Namibia, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Togo, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Lesotho, Comoros, Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mauritius, Gambia, South Sudan, Chad, Sao Tomé e Principe, Seychelles, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea.

The draw for the preliminary round will take place on Monday, 29 July 2019, at the CAF Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt at 10H00 GMT.

Schedule: 2-10 September 2019 (both legs)

2. Group Stage

The 14 winning teams from the Preliminary Round will join the 26 exempted teams for the Group Stage, which will have 10 groups of 4 teams each. The draw for the groups will be based on the seeding of the 40 teams into 4 Pots according to the official ranking of FIFA. Each group will contain a team from each of the pot.

The details for draw will communicated later. However, the schedule are as follows;

Day 1: 23-31 March 2020

Day 2: 1-9 June 2020

Day 3 & 4: 22-30 March 2021

Day 5: 30 August - 7 September 2021

Day 6: 4-12 October 2021

3. Playoff

The winners of the 10 groups will be divided into 2 Pots based on the official ranking of FIFA. The five (5) highest ranked teams according to the official FIFA ranking will play against the 5 least ranked teams (the 1st leg will be played at home of the lower ranked teams).

Schedule: 8-16 November 2021 (both legs)

The five winners will qualify to represent Africa at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

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