Nigeria learn their opponent in World Cup qualifiers

Super Eagles

Nigeria have been drawn against Ghana in the World Cup playoffs

The draws for the final phase of Africa Qualifiers to the World Cup has thrown up testy fixtures.

Mali and Guinea are contesting for their first-ever World Cup qualification.

On Saturday, the draws for the final round of World Cup qualifiers took place in Cameroon.

Old foes will clash again, but one thing is sure, some big names will be missing in Qatar when the competition kicks off. The Africa Cup of Nations has given viewers a sample of what to expect when the two-legged matches occur.

There is no hiding place, and the ten qualifiers for this stage know what they have to do after watching the performances of every team at the Africa Cup of Nations. The ten teams that made it to the draws are Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal, Morocco and Mali. Others are Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Dr Congo and Guinea. Of all the qualifiers, only Dr Congo is not at the Nations Cup in Cameroon.

Old foes clash

Five places are up for grabs in the final phase of qualifiers over a series of two-legged ties in March.

Perhaps, the most intriguing fixture thrown up by the draw is Nigeria versus Ghana. The Super Eagles of Nigeria will square off with the Black Stars of Ghana for a seat at Qatar. Nigeria and Ghana enjoy an intense rivalry, and this will come to the fore again as the Black Stars would want to redeem their image.

The Ghanaian senior national team limped out of the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon without winning a match, managing just a point from three games. Their Cameroon debacle led to the sack of Ghana's Serbian coach Milovan Radevac a few days ago.

The Super Eagles are enjoying a solid performance at the Nations Cup and are now one of the favourites to win the tournament. The Super Eagles are looking to make it a memorable competition as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) mulls retaining Augustine Eguavoen as their permanent manager.

The Super Eagles have never lost a World Cup tie to Ghana. Nigeria played in the last three tournaments, while Ghana failed to qualify for Russia in 2018.

Other ties in the draw

It will be a clash of friends as Egypt and Senegal take to the pitch in one of the draws. Liverpool teammates Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will put their friendship aside as they try to navigate a course for their countries that leads to Qatar. The Qatar World Cup will be without an African star.

The African country that has gone farthest at the World Cup is Senegal, reaching the quarter-finals in 2002.

Other matches in the final phase of qualifiers Morocco versus DR Congo, while Mali goes head-to-head with Guinea.

Liverpool teammates Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will go head-to-head as Egypt face Senegal, while Morocco play DR Congo and Mali face Guinea.

Ghana equaled the best performance by an African team when reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 but failed to qualify for the last tournament in Russia and will face a Nigeria side who have played at each of the past three World Cups.

Cameroon will play Algeria. The north Africans, as defending champions, have already crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Meanwhile, Guinea and Mali play for their first-ever World Cup appearance.

This article was most recently revised and updated 4 months ago

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