Zimbabwe will be watching with keen interest today, as the selection process for the continent’s five representatives for the Brazil 2014 Fifa World Cup begins with first leg matches of the preliminary round of the qualifying series.
Zimbabwe, under the tutelage of Norman Mapeza, has been drawn against seven-time African champions Egypt, Guinea and the winner between Comoros and Mozambique.
Comoros and Mozambique start their campaign this afternoon in Mitsamiouli and this being a rather tricky group, the Warriors would rather wish for the Islanders than its neighbours.
The game in Mozambique has improved in the last few years because of the cash injection from sponsors. They recently appointed German Gert Engels to take charge of the Mambas.
A total of 24 teams will be involved in this weekend’s matches as the battle for places at the next World Cup moves into gear.
The matches promise to be full of excitement despite the absence of big giants, who have drawn a bye in the initial phase of the qualifying campaign.
Of the participating teams, Democratic Republic (DR) of Congo (formerly ZaÏre) and Togo have had previous experiences at the World Cup; DR Congo in 1974 and Togo in 2006, both in Germany.
Both teams will begin their campaign away from home.
The Leopards will face Swaziland in Lobamba while Togo lock horns with Guinea-Bissau in Bissau. After missing out on the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, both DR Congo and Togo are under pressure to improve their recent performances.
Islanders, Seychelles will battle it with Kenya in Roche Caiman while Eritrea face off Rwanda in Asmara.
In Malabo, 2012 Africa Cup of Nations co-hosts Equatorial Guinea will welcome Islanders Madagascar in an encounter which will serve as a preparatory test for Henri Michel’s team ahead of the next year’s continental flagship event.
Elsewhere in Sao Tome, the Red Devils of Congo will be away to Sao Tome and Principe whereas Djibouti will sort things out with Namibia in Djibouti.
Chad will be at their favourite Stade Nacional in N’djamena against Tanzania whilst Lesotho slugs it out with Burundi in Maseru. On Saturday, November 12, Somalia will face fellows Ethiopia in Djibouti.
The second leg matches will take place on November 15 and 16.
Seychelles v Kenya
Guinea Bissau v Togo
Djibouti v Namibia
Comoros v Mozambique
Equatorial Guinea v Madagascar
Somalia v Ethiopia
Lesotho v Burundi
Eritrea v Rwanda
Swaziland v DR Congo
Sao Tome and Principe v Congo
Chad v Tanzania
Somalia v Ethiopia (in Djibouti)