- LAST CARD: Ghana coach Appiah and Uganda’s Basena are living on the brink. Today, Ghana are throwing their last card as they lie third in group E on five points, two adrift of Uganda with Egypt top on nine points.
- The same applies for Uganda, who might have to wait for another campaign if they don’t win today. It will literally be a Cup final for the Pharaohs and Uganda Cranes.
Uganda 1 Ghana 0
Games between Uganda Cranes and Ghana’s Black Stars are traditionally a cagey affair. Don’t expect a repeat of the 5-1 pummelling Ghana handed Congo Brazzaville last time out. I think caretaker Cranes coach Moses Basena will make a few tactical tweaks to give Cranes attacking impetus. William Kizito Luwaga could join Derrick Nsibambi and Farouk Miya in an industrious three-man attack.
Mali 1 Ivory Coast 1
Former Africa World Cup representatives Ivory Coast are suffering an alarming drop in confidence that has seen them uncharacteristically lose home ties to Guinea and Gabon. I therefore don’t expect a team lacking leadership to prevail over a gifted Mali.
Egypt 3 C. Brazzaville 0
With all due respect to the Congolese, this match is of no significance to Thierry Bifouma and company. Their federation will be thinking about building for the next campaign. This makes Egypt overwhelming favourites to win and qualify for the World Cup for only the third time after 1934 and 1990.
Nigeria 2 Zambia 1
Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles have been in imperious form during these qualifiers, negotiating a tricky group by taking care of business away to Zambia, and emphatically brushing aside African champions Cameroon and heavyweights Algeria. Zambia’s Chipolopolo will make a contest of this tie but Nigeria will qualify for the 2018 World Cup with a match to spare.
Morocco 2 Gabon 1
Morocco’s Atlas Lions have been in imperious form throughout these qualifiers. After taking Mali to the cleaners 6-0, they are well poised to take care of a Gabonese side blowing hot and cold. Elite stars, Southampton’s Mario Lemima and Dortmund’s Pierre Emerick Aubameyang will carry Gabon’s attacking threat.
Guinea 2 Tunisia 3
Guinea are talented enough to throw a spanner in the works. Tunisia go into this game with a three-point cushion over DR Congo, but I can see Naby Keita leading a charge on the Carthage Eagles. A humdinger lies in store.
Cape Verde 1 Senegal 1
Aliou Cisse’s Lions of Terranga are making hard work of qualifying from a group they were expected to steamroll. Back to back draws with Burkina Faso have made this a must win encounter. Sadio Mane, Moussa Sow and Balde Keita will huff and puff but Cape Verde will not lose at home.
South Africa 1 Burkina Faso 1
South Africa’s have been anything but impressive during these qualifiers. Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter appears to be laying emphasis on physicality at the expense of technical quality. At least that’s what came through during home and away defeats to Cape Verde. Burkina are a gritty side that will give Bafana a run for their money.
Cameroon 2 Algeria 1
This is effectively a dead rubber as two of Africa’s best build for the future. Indomitable Lions’ Hugo Broos needs to convince some of the seven rebels, who refused to play for their country over a pay dispute, to return to the fold. Home advantage should propel the Lions past Algeria.