CAF Match Day 4 Qualifying Preview September 05 & 06 , 2009
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By Don Palacas
Published September 02, 2009
CAF Match Day 4 Qualifying Preview
The Gabonese look to maintain their group lead
Surprise group leaders Gabon look to stay unbeaten in qualifying as they welcome Cameroon to Libreville. This qualifier was delayed because of the death of Gabon President Omar Bongo in June. The two teams will meet again four days later in Yaoundé; Cameroon, sitting on one point, need to win their four remaining games to ensure World Cup qualification.
Togo, which lies second in the Group encounter Morocco in Lomé and can overtake the lead in the group with a victory and successive defeats for Gabon. Morocco, like Cameroon, are sitting on two points but do not have their fate in their own hands and would need other results to go their way for any semblance of hope to be in South Africa next year.
Nigeria will be boosted by the return of Chinedu Obasi
Leaders Tunisia faces a tough task as they head to Abuja looking to maintain their lead in the group. Nigeria has yet to taste defeat in either round the qualifying campaign, will look for the home advantage to propel them to victory, which would take them to the top of the group. Tunisia faces injury concerns to their strike force. Humberto Coelho's men will be without Lassad Nouioui and Sami Allagu is questionable with an ankle injury. Hoffenheim striker Chinedu Obasi is back for Nigeria after missing their last two qualifiers due to injury.
Kenya hopes to keep a grip on the third spot in the group as they travel to Maputo to face Mozambique. The Harambee Stars may have to do so without their star striker Dennis Oliech, whose status for the game is unclear due to an ankle injury. Mozambique with one point needs a home victory to stay in contention for a place at the African Nations Cup in Angola.
Egypt will be without several stars when they travel to Kigali to take on Rwanda. Mohamed Zidan, Mido and Amir Zaki have been overlooked by coach Hassan Shehata for this critical qualifier. African Champions Egypt; lie in second place on four points, three behind pacesetters Algeria. Rwanda, propping up the group with one point, faces the tall task of winning their remaining three games to ensure a place in the Nations Cup Finals.
In form Algeria will look to maintain their lead in the group as they welcome the Zambians to Blida. The Dessert Foxes are riding high after successive victories over Egypt in Algiers and Zambia in Lusaka. Zambia's World Cup chances hang in the balance after a disappointing home defeat to Algeria, a game in which they were let down by poor finishing. If the Chipolopolo pull off the shock upset at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium they will be on level points with Algeria.
Michael Essien leads Ghana's dynamic midfield
Michael Essien and Ghana have qualification within their grasp but have fitness and injury concerns as they prepare to host last place Sudan. Ghana will be without the services of rising midfield Kwadwo Asamoah who is out with a knee injury, Captain Steven Appiah returns to the squad despite his inability to sign with a club. Ghana can become the first country qualify for the World Cup with a win in Accra and a draw between group rivals Benin and Mali. Last place Sudan have only earned one point after three games and will hope for a miracle victory in Accra to get back into Nations Cup contention.
Mali takes on Benin in Cotonou, a must win game for both teams who are five points behind leaders Ghana, in order to stay in the race for Group D's only ticket. Mali defeated Benin in Bamako in the last round of qualifiers by a 3-1 margin. The Eagles will be without Captain Mahamadou Diarra and Momo Sissoko who are recovering from injury. Benin will be without the services of midfield wizard Stéphane Sessegnon who was omitted from the eighteen man squad.
Jonathan Pitroipa leads the Burkinabè into hostile Abidjan
Burkina Faso face a must win situation if they hope to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive as they head to Abidjan for a match with group leaders Ivory Coast. The Burkinabè suffered a deflating home defeat to the Elephants in Ouagadougou and now find themselves three points behind the group leaders with a substantial goal difference in favor of the Elephants.
Group dwellers Guinea and Malawi are set to do battle in Blantrye, with an eye on the final Nations Cup place in the group. Malawi will look to pick up their first points of the campaign after losing to Guinea by a 2-1 score line in their last game in Conkary.
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