2018 qualifiers: AfricanFootball’s guide to Friday

2018 qualifiers: AfricanFootball’s guide to Friday
Victor Moses - Eagles star

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Sep 01, 2017. 11:00

Welcome to the AfricanFootball guide to today’s 2018 World Cup qualifying matches.

Who’s playing, where and when?

Group E - Ghana v Congo - Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi
Kick-off - 17h30 CAT

Group B - Nigeria v Cameroon - Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo
Kick-off - 18h00 CAT

Group D - Cape Verde Islands v South Africa - National Stadium, Praia
Kick-off - 20h30 CAT

Group A - Tunisia v DR Congo - 7 November Stadium, Rades
Kick-off - 22h00 CAT

Group C - Morocco v Mali - Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Rabat
Kick-off - 22h00 CAT

What’s at stake?

Ghana simply must beat Congo at home to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for a fourth successive World Cup, and coach James Kwesi Appiah will be hoping for strong support in Kumasi.

In Uyo, Nigeria will be targeting not just three points (which would see them climb even further clear at the top of Group B) but also bragging rights against a Cameroon team which stormed to an upset triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year - a tournament the Super Eagles didn’t qualify for.

South Africa will see their matches against Cape Verde as a chance to claim six points and take control of Group D, but the return of ‘air traffic controller super coach’ (to use his official title) Lucio Antunes could inspire the Blue Sharks and derail Bafana Bafana’s campaign.

In Rades, Tunisia and DR Congo will battle for the right to be outright leaders of Group A (and therefore the favourites to secure qualification), while the match in Rabat gives Herve Renard’s Morocco the chance to leapfrog his former team, Ivory Coast, at the head of the Group C log.

And which players should I keep an eye on?

Ghana’s Andre Ayew has looked in good nick despite West Ham United’s poor start to the season in England, while the Nigeria-Cameroon clash features a smorgasbord of stars. Take your pick from the Super Eagles’ John Obi Mikel, Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses and Kelechi Iheanacho, as well as the Indomitable Lions’ Vincent Aboubakar, Christian Bassogog, Benjamin Moukandjo and Georges Mandjeck.

South Africa will hope Tokelo Rantie can repeat his heroics after scoring a goal in their 2-0 away win over Nigeria in a 2019 AFCON qualifier back in June; Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri has already scored a vital goal in the Russia 2018 preliminaries (the Carthage Eagles’ winner in a 1-0 triumph away to Libya last year); and Morocco will welcome the return of veteran centre-back Medhi Benatia from the international wilderness.

Is AfricanFootball covering any of the games live?

Yes - We’ll have LIVE play-by-play coverage of no less than three matches: Ghana v Congo, Nigeria v Cameroon and Cape Verde v South Africa.

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