FIFA have released their Statistical Kit for the Preliminary Draw.
Remember CAF announced in January the format for the African qualifiers.
The competing teams will have to go through three preliminary rounds in order to bring the number of teams down to 20 so as to be able to constitute five (5) groups of four teams, where the first from each group will qualifier for the World Cup.
It seems they have changed their mind.
Page 11 of the Statistical Kit mentions only three total rounds.
- 26 games in Round 1
- 40 in Round 2
- 60 in Round 3
Now, a group of 4 teams playing home-and-away makes for 12 matches. Five group of 4 teams equals 60 matches, so Round 3 is actually the group round, not a KO round.
Round 2 is obviously the last KO round before the group stage.
Same goes for Round 1. Lowest 26 teams enter.
So, to recap:
Round 1: Lowest ranked 26 teams. 13 winners advance to the next round.
Round 2: Top 27 teams + 13 winners = 40 teams.
Round 3: Five groups of four teams.
I don't know whether the full draw will be done on 25 July or there will be another draw for the group stage.
These would be the pots for the preliminary rounds if CAF choose the July ranking.
Remember Zimbabwe were expelled.
Pot 1: Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Kenya, Madagascar, Botswana, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Swaziland, Burundi
Pot 2: Tanzania, Gambia, Liberia, Central African Republic, Chad, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sao Tome e Principe, Comoros, South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti
Pot 1: Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Tunisia, Senegal, Cameroon, Congo, Cape Verde Islands, Egypt, Nigeria, Guinea, Congo DR, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Gabon, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda
Pot 2: Togo, Morocco, Sudan, Mozambique, Libya, Niger, Benin + 13 Round 1 winners