Sunday Nov 19, 2023. 11:00
A must-win match for Nigeria will headline a group of five matches being played across Africa in 2026 World Cup Qualifiers on Sunday 19 November.
The Super Eagles will be away to Group C rivals Zimbabwe at Stade Huye in Butare, Rwanda (due to a lack of CAF-approved venues in the Southern African nation) and looking to make a quick recovery from a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Lesotho in their opening match on Thursday.
“We had 76 percent of the ball possession against 24 percent [by Lesotho], the opponents only had two chances to score and scored a goal,” bemoaned Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro. “We had many chances to score. It was bad luck.”
He added, “I am sad of course and a bit disappointed also. But my team tried to get the maximum points. I am sad because of the result but about the performance, Lesotho stayed behind all through for 90 minutes. They only came forward two or three times.”
Two other heavyweights in action are Algeria and Egypt – with the North African pair targeting second wins when they face Mozambique (away in Group G) and Sierra Leone (away in Group A) respectively.
“Our group in the qualifiers is not easy, and everyone knows that winning away from home in Africa is an extremely challenging mission,” said Egypt coach Rui Vitoria in the wake of their opening 6-0 thrashing of Djibouti.
Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi, by contrast, criticised the state of the pitch for his team’s home 3-1 win over Somalia, arguing that “playing at home is no longer an advantage”.
He noted, “We have a magnificent stadium, the supporters, but we don’t have the essential thing, the pitch. We don’t even train the day before the match to get our bearings. Give us a good [playing surface]. Land is not an excuse.”
Sunday will also feature Gabon and Burundi chasing their second wins in Group F when they meet in Dar Es Salaam, as well as DR Congo looking to build on their opening win against Mauritania in Group B when they face Sudan in Benghazi.
Africa WCQ fixtures, Sunday 19 November
15:00: Burundi v Gabon
15:00: Mozambique v Algeria
15:00: Zimbabwe v Nigeria
18:00: Sierra Leone v Egypt
18:00: Sudan v DR Congo