The first round of African qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 concluded on Tuesday.
Malawi, Djibouti and Zimbabwe all won their ties by one-goal margins against Botswana, Eswatini and Somalia respectively, making for several dramatic finishes.
Gerald Phiri’s cooly-dispatched late penalty saw Malawi through in what set a new national record of three successive clean sheets in World Cup preliminaries.
Mozambique, Angola, Togo, Rwanda, Guinea-Bissau, Namibia and Sudan had an easier time of it as they all booked their spots in the next round.
Djibouti saw out a tense, goalless second leg lacking in clear-cut chances to advance thanks to their 2-1 victory in the sides’ first meeting. The visitors will participate in the second round for just the second time, having avoided defeat in an away World Cup qualifier for the first time – this after six straight defeats on the road.
Rwanda’s 10-0 aggregate victory over Seychelles was by far the most lopsided of all the ties in Round 1. Meanwhile, it was a historic evening on home soil for Guinea-Bissau. They advanced to the second round for the first time ever, steering past Sao Tome e Principe 2-1 in the return leg.
The 14 winners from the first round will join the continent’s top-ranked 26 sides, who were exempted from the initial round of qualifiers.
The 40 teams will then be split into ten groups of four for the second qualifying round.
The details for group stage draw will be communicated later by CAF. However, the matches will kick off in March 2020.
The ten winners of those groups will then be drawn against each other in home-and-away fixtures, with the five victors advancing to Qatar 2022.
The Qatar World cup will be played from 21st November to 18th December 2022.
Qualified countries for group stages from round one: Ethiopia, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Mozambique, Angola, Togo, Rwanda, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan and Namibia.