2026 World Cup Draw: Nigeria Battles South Africa

By: Gyang Dakwo

The official draw for the Africa qualifiers has been made just hours after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) General Assembly held in Ivory Coast on Thursday.

A total of 54 African nations were split into nine groups of six, with the journey to the 2026 FIFA World Cup set to be staged across Canada, Mexico, and the United States scheduled to begin in November.

Nigeria has been drawn in Group C along with Zimbabwe and South Africa as well as Benin, Rwanda, and Lesotho.

Having lost out in the last world cup qualification to Ghana, Nigeria must now take advantage of its superior record over South Africa, to pick a ticket at the top of the group.

Morocco, who made history by becoming the first African country to reach the World Cup semi-finals following their run at Qatar 2022, will begin their campaign in Group E alongside Zambia, Congo, Tanzania, Niger, and Eritrea.

Reigning African Cup of Nations champions Senegal headline which features the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritania, Togo, Sudan, and South Sudan.

Egypt has been placed in Group A along with Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

Cameroon will be hoping to qualify for another World Cup having been dropped in Group D alongside Cape Verde, Angola, Libya, Eswatini, and Mauritius.

Group F comprises of Ivory Coast, Gabon, Kenya, The Gambia, Burundi, and Seychelles, while Group G includes Algeria, Guinea, Uganda, Mozambique, Botswana, and Somalia.

Tunisia will aim to top Group H, which also features Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Malawi, Liberia, and Sao Tome and Principe.

Mali and Ghana have been named in Group I along with Madagascar, Central African Republic, Comoros, and Chad.

Matches are due to run from November 13 in 2023 to October 14 in 2025, with the winners of each group automatically qualifying for the World Cup.

The four best runners-up will go into a CAF playoff tournament, scheduled to be held in November 2025, with the winner advancing to the FIFA playoff tournament, due to be staged in March 2026, that could see Africa secure a 10th slot at the World Cup.