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 By Mark Gleeson

Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria placed in same group for World Cup qualifiers

Yacine Brahimi and Algeria will be out to carry their World Cup form into the African Nations' Cup.
Algeria were a bright spot at the 2014 World Cup, advancing to the knockout stage behind Belgium in Group H.

Friday saw the 20 countries left in the African preliminaries for the 2018 World Cup in Russia divided into five groups of four, from which only the winner of each will progress to Russia in exactly two years' time. A banquet room was a somewhat unsophisticated venue for a World Cup draw, and the palace turned hotel on the banks of the Nile River turned into something of a house of horrors for a few of the continents' heavyweight contenders.

Recent FIFA rankings determined the four pots and delivered...

 By Mark Gleeson

CAF Champions League gets off to unpredictable start with Al Ahly loss

Eight-time CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly of Egypt suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat against Zesco United of Zambia.

If routine and predictable outcomes were to be expected in the group phase of the African Champions League, then opening weekend action did much to dispel that prognosis.

Rarely has the competition got off to such a combustible start, as the fancied sides struggled and three of four matches ended in victories for the visiting teams.

Eight-time competition winners Al Ahly of Egypt were the only side to fail to win on the road, conceding three goals in a surprise 3-2 loss against Zesco United of Zambia...

 By Mark Gleeson

Guinea Bissau's historic African Nations Cup qualification campaign

Guinea Bissau will contest the African Nations Cup following a historic qualification campaign.

The influence of Africa on Portuguese football is constantly recalled by the elevated status that Eusebio, Mario Coluna and Matateu enjoy among the country's sporting greats. But Portugal is paying back a rich debt to its former colonies on the continent as the provider of a new generation of players who have taken the tiny Cape Verde Islands to a place at the top table of the African game and now Guinea Bissau to a first-ever African Nations Cup appearance.

Qualification for Djurtus, as...

 By Mark Gleeson

Africa's elite seek to seal place in Nations Cup to join Gabon, Morocco

Africa Cup of Nations winners Ivory Coast returned home with the trophy after beating Ghana in the final on penalties.
Cameroon will be looking to avoid any missteps in their quest for African Nations' Cup qualification.
Cameroon will hope to add their name to the finals list.

At least four more countries, and perhaps a few more, will shortly add their names to the list of finalists for next year's African Nations Cup tournament in Gabon.

This weekend the preliminary competition reaches the penultimate round and with the hosts and Morocco the only sides confirmed to date, 14 places still have to be decided.

Algeria, Egypt, Ghana and Senegal already have a foot in the finals but will confirm their participation in next January's tournament after what should be routine...

 By Mark Gleeson

Mamelodi Sundowns benefit from CAF's repeated oversights

Can Mamelodi Sundowns make the most of their second chance and win the African Champions League?

On Tuesday, 34 days after they were eliminated from the African Champions League, big-spending South African club Mamelodi Sundowns were reinstated.

That such a turnaround came to pass is due to the most extraordinary stroke of good fortune, although how the error which led to it was spotted only at this late hour must be of concern and acute embarrassment to the Confederation of African Football.

Sundowns' reprieve came after the disqualification of AS Vita Club from the Democratic Republic of...

 By Mark Gleeson

African Confederation Cup boasts a crowded, talented final eight

Etoile Sahel will be a tough test as the CAF Confederation Cup enters its eight-team group stage.

It was late into the night on Wednesday when the last of the knockout-round matches in this year's African club competitions were completed and the lineup for next week's group phase draw decided.

Two games in Morocco delivered positive results for the locals with Kawkab Marrakech and FUS Rabat advancing to join six others in the last eight of the African Confederation Cup. Morocco will be the only country to have two teams in the group phase, mirroring Egypt's achievement in the African Champions...