After the first matchday of World Cup qualifying in the African zone, some teams are hoping to consolidate their spoils while others want to mend their deficit
A number of teams kicked off the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign in a smooth fashion last weekend while others need to back up in the upcoming match day to make up for their poor harvest.
However, all the teams – Central African Republic, Tunisia, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Cameroon and Senegal – who carried off their weekend’s matches did so at home, and they will be playing away fixtures this coming weekend. How those teams will perform on foreign soil will determine their real strength in the campaign.
And the teams that fell in their previous outing will have to show how good they can exploit home advantage, otherwise, they will have to watch the ticket to Brazil 2014 drift away from their view.
Uganda – Senegal | Saturday, June 9 Venue: Kampala
After a commendable 1-1 draw against Angola last weekend in an away fixture, Uganda are hoping to improve their meagre acquisition at home against Senegal in order to smooth their part into the campaign. But the star-studded Teranga Lions are keen on keeping a stranglehold on Group J by either pulling off a win against the Cranes or at worst hold them to a draw, according to Senegal caretaker coach Joseph Koto.
Gabon – Burkina Faso | Saturday, June 9 Venue: Libreville
Group E is the only group where all teams have one point each after the first matchday, having settled each of their games in a draw. However, Gabon, co-host of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, had wished to stand out right from the beginning of the qualification process, but were held by Niger. Now they have a chance to negotiate their status in the group while hosting Burkina Faso on Saturday. The west Africans will be jeopardising their campaign if they lose in Libreville, but with their former coach Paolo Duarte now heading the Panthers, things might get interesting.
Congo – Niger | Saturday, June 9 Venue: Pointe Noire
Both teams from Group E have one point each and are yet to win a match, but Congo appear to have a better advantage being the home team in the upcoming clash and for their valiant display against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou. If the Red Devils can put up the same sort of performance on Saturday in Pointe Noire, Niger may not survive the fray.
Equatorial Guinea – Sierra Leone | Saturday, June 9 Venue: Malabo
After beating Cape Verde 2-1 to sit behind Group B leaders Tunisia with three points each, Sierra Leone have the chance of bagging two straight wins and consolidating their stance by defeating Equatorial Guinea at home in Malabo, but will the Nzalang Nacional accept two losses in a row?
Namibia – Kenya | Saturday, June 9 Venue: Windhoek
Despite losing to Nigeria 1-0, many pundits praised Namibia’s play against the Super Eagles and described Nigeria’s home soil win as a narrow escape. Hosting Kenya at home in Windhoek will be another occasion for the Brave Warriors to confirm their recent esteem from analysts.