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Friday, October 28, 2011

2013 Africa Cup of Nations: A look at the qualification

In September 2010, CAF announced the qualifying system for the 2013 edition.

Countries that do not qualify for the Orange CAN Gabon – Equatorial Guinea 2012 will play a first round eliminatory, with direct elimination, with a view to finding fifteen teams. The period from 15 January 2012 to 15 February 2012 was chosen for this first round.

If Libya South Africa doesn’t qualify for the Orange CAN 2012, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea will play home and away play-off and the winner will participate in the second round qualifiers.

I doubt they will trim the field to 15 teams during that period. Most likely it will be only a preliminary round. Here's why.Looking at the CAF 2014 World Cup calendar and at FIFA's match dates for 2012, you'll notice there are two conspicuous double match dates available for CAF: 7-11 September and 12-16 October.

There are 37 teams that didn't qualify for the 2012 edition. With South Africa hosting the 2013 event, that leaves 36 teams. Of course, that doesn't mean all 36 will want to play in the 2013 preliminaries.

The preliminary round should involve the bottom 12 teams in the FIFA rankings to trim the field to 30 teams.

Probably the second round will be in September, with the final round scheduled for October.

In 2010, the draw took place at the 2010 CAF Super Cup, on 20 February 2010. Next year this event is scheduled for 24-26 February, with the February 2012 FIFA Ranking set to be published on 15 February.

Looking at the intermediate February 2012 ranking, this is how the qualification could look:

Preliminary round

Pot 1: Guinea-Bissau, Swaziland, Madagascar, Lesotho, Seychelles, Comoros
Pot 2: Mauritius, Somalia, Eritrea, Mauritania, Djibouti, Sao Tome e Principe

Second round

Pot 1: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Egypt, Cape Verde Islands, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Malawi, Cameroon, Uganda, Gambia, Central African Republic, Togo, Benin, Mozambique, Rwanda
Pot 2: Kenya, Tanzania, Congo DR, Ethiopia, Liberia, Congo, Namibia, Burundi, Chad plus six winners from the previous round.

Final round

Pot 1: Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Libya, Guinea, Mali, Tunisia, Angola, Zambia, Morocco, Niger, Botswana, Sudan and the winner of Gabon/Equatorial Guinea
Pot 2: 15 winners from the previous round

It's quite possible to see matches like Côte d'Ivoire vs. Egypt, Ghana vs. Nigeria, Senegal vs. Cameroon or Morocco vs. Algeria in the final round.

This could be a disaster for CAF - and the sales of TV rights. In order to protect their flagship competition, CAF might create four pots in the final round.

Pot 1: Top 8 from the 2012 edition
Pot 2: the remaining 7 teams
Pot 3: Top 7 from the February 2012 FIFA ranking
Pot 4: the other 8 teams

and draw Pot 1 vs. Pot 4 and Pot 2 vs. Pot 3.


  1. it's quite possible that Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana wouldn't qualify for the 1/4 finals

  2. and with the previous qual. system it's still a disaster as you can see

  3. With the system CAF came up with for 2013 it doesn't matter if Ghana or Côte d'Ivoire make it to the QF - all 15 teams will be in the same pot.

  4. That would be grossly unfair. They've made their bed, now they must lie in it. The so called big teams knew what was at stake, and that qualifying for the ACON 2012 was doubly important. If they couldn't make it to a 16 team tournament as top seeds knowing that, then they're not fit to be seeded. The World rankings will look very different when ACON 2012 is over.

  5. And I've seen a lot of people say 2012 will be garbage with all those teams gone. Who says it will, just because a few names aren't in there. Names don't win football matches, teams do. We could see some really good matches by teams trying to seize the moment with so many so called favourites gone. We could see some new names made and the rise of some new stars.

  6. They have just made this draw.

    They decided to only have four teams competing in the preliminary round.

  7. I guess they will just use FIFA Rankings to seed the teams in the qualifying FINAL ROUND.

  8. It's mock draw time! First, the REAL draw for the preliminary and first rounds:

    Round 1 (two legs, home and away):
    A. Seychelles v Swaziland
    B. Sao Tome v Lesotho

    Round 2 (two legs, home and away):
    1. Ethiopia v Benin
    2. Rwanda v Nigeria
    3. Congo v Uganda
    4. Burundi v Zimbabwe
    5. Algeria v Gambia
    6. Kenya v Togo
    7. Winner B v Sierra Leone
    8. Guinea Bissau v Cameroon
    9. Chad v Malawi
    10. Winner A v RD Congo
    11. Tanzania v Mozambique
    12. Central African Republic v Egypt
    13. Madagascar v Cape Verde
    14. Liberia v Namibia

    Mock Draw

    I'm not sure what they're doing with the 2012 hosts, whether they'll put Equitorial Guinea on the unseeded side, or have the two hosts clash, so I'm going to leave the 2012 hosts out of this. I've put the numbers of the first round matches with the seeded teams, and also specified the fates of the 4 teams mentioned by Edgar. I'm glad to see you left South Africa out of the big teams Edgar.

    Ghana vs 7
    Morocco vs 3
    Sudan vs 9
    Niger vs 8 (Cameroon)
    Botswana vs 14
    Angola vs 2 (Nigeria)
    Burkina Faso vs 5 (Algeria)
    Libya vs 12 (Egypt)
    Tunisia vs 10
    Mali vs 11
    Zambia vs 6
    Guinea vs 4
    Senegal vs 1
    Ivory Coast vs 13

    I think CAF would be pleased with that. Burkina Faso vs Algeria sees one of the more accomplished African sides involved, but there's no "big gun" shooting down another "big gun" here.

  9. Edgar, Mauritania withdrew from AFCON 2012 so I think they will not be allowed to take part in the next 2 AFCON editions.

  10. @Amir

    Based on what they've announced last year I expected them to have two pots - one with AFCON 2012 teams and the other with the teams advancing from the second round. I don't know ...


    100% sure? I know there was something regarding their withdrawal, but I couldn't find anything about the penalty from CAF.