The selection process for the continent’s five representatives for the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup commences on Friday with the first leg matches of the preliminary round of the qualifying series.
A total of 24 teams will be involved in this weekend’s matches as the battle for places at the next Mundial moves into gear. The matches pledge to be full of excitement despite the absence of the big giants, who have drawn a bye at the initial phase of the qualifying campaign.
Of the participating teams, DR Congo, formerly Zaire and Togo DR Congo have had previous experiences at the World Cup; DR Congo in 1974 and Togo in 2006, both in Germany. Either by luck or sheer coincidence, the two teams will begin their campaign away from home.
The Leopards will face Swaziland in Lobamba whilst Togo lock horns with Guinea-Bissau in Bissau. After missing out on the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, both DR Congo and Togo are under pressure to wake up from their recent slumber.
Islanders Seychelles will battle it with Kenya in Roche Caiman, Comoros against Mozambique in Mitsamiouli whilst Eritrea face-off Rwanda in Asmara.
In Malabo, 2012 Africa Cup of Nations co-hosts Equatorial Guinea will welcome Islanders Madagascar in an encounter which will serve a preparatory test for Henri Michel’s team ahead of the next year’s continental flagship event.
Elsewhere in Sao Tome, the Red Devils of Congo will be away to Sao Tome and Principe whereas Djibouti will sort things out with Namibia in Djibouti.
Chad will be at their favourite Stade Nacional in N’djamena against Tanzania whilst Lesotho slugs it out with Burundi in Maseru.
On Saturday, November 12, Somalia will face fellows Ethiopia in Djibouti.
The second leg matches will take place on November 15 and 16.