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CAF Match Day 6 Qualifying Preview November 13 & 14 , 2009


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By Don Palacas
Published November 13, 2009


CAF Match Day 6 Qualifying Preview

Group A

Hopefuls Cameroon and Gabon must travel in their quests to qualify for the World Cup. Cameroon started off their campaign with loss to Togo and a home draw against Morocco; few envisioned they would control their destiny going in to the last game but the hiring of former Rangers FC manager Paul Guen after the second match seemed to ignite the Indomitable Lions.

Cameroon travel to Morocco knowing that with a win they will punch their ticket to next year's World Cup.  The Indomitable Lions will be without Tottenham Hotspurs defender Sebastien Bassong who suffered an injury while playing for his club, he has been replaced in the squad by  Kaiserslautern' Georges Mandjeck.

Morocco has been disappointing throughout this campaign earning just three points through five matches; however, they still have a chance to qualify for the Nations Cup with a win and a loss by Togo. Hassan Moumen has made numerous changes from the squad that was defeated by Gabon in Libreville, captain Youssouf Hadji misses out due to a dispute with Moumen and Marouane Chamakh is out due to suspension.

Spurned by a strong start to the qualifying campaign Gabon find themselves in contention for their maiden world cup birth, lying a point behind Cameroon as they travel to Lome.  They must win and hope Cameroon lose or draw against Morocco to secure their ticket.  Coach Alain Giresse continues with a similar squad to the ones he has called up throughout the campaign; he will be without striker Stéphane N'Guéma who is suspended.

2006 World Cup qualifiers Togo won their first match in qualification, defeating Cameroon in Accra, however things have not gone well for the Sparrow Hawks since then and they now find themselves battling for the last Nations Cup spot in the group, in front of the home crowd.  A win will ensure Togo of Nations Cup qualification but they can still qualify if Morocco is defeated by or draws with Cameroon.
Hubert Velud's men will be without suspended goalkeeper Obilale Kodjovi and the omitted veteran Thomas Dossevi.



Group B
Tunisia with 11 points, must win in Maputo against a resolute Mozambique side in order to guarantee their presence at the mundial. 
Estádio da Machava is traditional a difficult place to play, the synthetic turf coupled by an enthusiastic crowd, continental heavyweights Ivory Coast and Nigeria could only manage draws in Maputo; Tunisia are statistically one of the best traveling teams in Africa, something has to give.

Tunisia are looking to qualify for the fourth consecutive World Cup, a feat that would only be matched by Cameroon.  Portuguese tactician Humberto Coelho has made a name for himself in this qualifying campaign, his young Tunisian side has impressed, particularly fighting back for a draw in Abuja against Nigeria, when defeat looked certain. 
Coelho has dropped midfielder Nabil Taider due to inactivity at his club, forwards Amine Chermiti and Sami Allagui are recalled due to their superb club form.

Mozambique can seal their place in the Nations Cup with a victory against the Carthage Eagles.  They will be without the services of Egypt based midfield Mano; otherwise they are expected to field the same side that suffered a heartbreaking last minute defeated against Nigeria in October in Abuja.

For Nigeria to reach South Africa they must win in Nairobi and hope for the Mambas to trip up the Carthage Eagles.  Chinedu Obasi, Danny Shittu, Sani Kaita, Yusuf Mohammed and Adefemi Olubayo have been omitted through injury.  Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi, CSKA Moscow right back Chidi Odiah and Club Brugge striker Joseph Akpala return for the Super Eagles.

With their training camp in turmoil Kenya can qualify for the Nations Cup with a win and a draw or loss by Mozambique.  Coach Antoine Hey boycotted training after players Dennis Oliech and Edgar Ochieng were included in the squad by Kenyan football authorities against his wishes.

The squad will now be led by assistants for this all important fixture.  The Harambee Stars will have to win without Parma star midfielder MacDonald Mariga and Robert Mambo who are nursing injuries if they aspire to be in Angola.


Group C

All eyes will be on Cairo where bitter North African rivals Algeria and Egypt square off at Cairo International Stadium with a place in the World Cup at stake in what promises to be a memorable match. 

The Pharaohs strategy will surely attack, attack, attack. They must win by two goals to force a one game playoff; three goals will see them go straight threw. There will not be a lack of motivation, in addition to facing a bitter rival in a must win match, this may be the last chance for a majority of Egypt's stars to qualify for a world cup.

Defender Wael Gomaa is out through injury and defensive midfielder Hosny Abd Rabo is doubtful with an injury; Mohamed Zidan, Emad Metab, and Ahmed Raouf all are return for coach Hassan Shehata.

Algeria are in the driver's seat to qualify for their first World Cup since 1986, holding a 3 point advantage and a plus two goal difference. Algeria mentioned that they will not play for a draw as many expect.  Algeria has the talent to battle with the Egyptians, it remain to be seen if they can hold strong for 90 minutes.

Algeria are boosted by the return to training of Karim Ziani Wolfsburg midfielder, Madjid Bougherra and Anthar Yahia remain questionable for this decisive tie.

On Thursday the Algerian national team bus was attacked by projectiles after leaving the airport in route to the team hotel, there were reportedly five players injured which is sure to raise the intensity levels even higher. 

Approximately 70,000 Egyptian fans are expected to pack the international stadium with an estimated 2,000 tickets allocated to Algerian fans.

With the last Nations Cup spot in group on the line the formula is simple.  Zambia must avoid a two goal defeat to the Amavubi Stars of Rwanda in order to qualify.

The Zambians had a lot of optimism after their shock draw in Egypt and victory over Rwanda in their first two matches.  The Chipolopolo have not earned a point since and now find themselves clinging to the group's last Nations Cup place. Embattled coach Herve Renard has dropped veteran midfielder Andrew Sinkala for deemed insubordination; mainstay Felix Katongo returns from suspension.

Rwanda are approaching this game with the upmost seriousness, Ferwafa suspended their local league for proper preparation. Rwanda has only scored one goal through five matches and need a two goal victory to book their place at the Nations Cup.  Under-fire tactician Branko Tucak has called up Cameroon-born Abbas Rassou in an attempt to spark the attack.



Group D
All teams in the group know their qualification fates, Ghana has qualified for next year's World Cup, Benin and Mali and assured themselves of tickets to The African Cup of Nations. 

Ghana face Mali in Accra, Black Star's coach Milovan Rajevac has awarded several players from the U-20 World Cup winning side with call ups to the senior team. New AC Milan signing Dominic Adiyiah earns his first senior call up after winning the Golden Ball as the tournament's top scorer in the recently completed U-20 World Cup in Egypt, which Ghana were crowned champions. He is joined in the squad by penalty shoot-out goalkeeping hero Daniel Adyei, central defender Daniel Addo who also earn their first senior caps. U-20 captain Andrew Ayew returns to the senior squad after more than a year's absence; defender Samuel Inkoom and midfield dynamo Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu were also named in the squad.

Stephen Keshi and Mali will be without four of their top stars, Frederic Kanoute, Seydou Keita, Mohamed Sissoko and Mahamadou Diarra will miss out. Nice forward Mamadou Bagayoko and Xerez's Sidi Yaya Keita return for the Eagles.

A largely home-based Sudan side will be looking for their first win in this qualifying campaign as the Desert Hawks welcome Benin to the Khartoum Stadium.

Benin is coming off a surprise home victory over the qualification assured Ghanaians and will use this match as a warm up for Angola 2010.





Group E
Guinea and The Ivory Coast are set to do battle in Abidjan; this game is of utmost importance to Guinea if they have aspirations to be in the Nations Cup next year.

The Elephants qualified for the world cup after their draw against Malawi in Blantyre. In form Portsmouth striker Aruna Dindane returns to the national team for the first time under Vahid Halilhodzic, after a long battle with injuries.

Guinea's newly appointed coach Mamadi Souare is already raising eyebrows by including his clubless brother Ibrahima in the squad who has not featured for the Syli Nationale since 2006. Guinea must secure at least a draw and hope Malawi loses to Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso, who have already qualified for Angola host Malawi in a crucial game for the Flames in their bid to qualify for the Nations Cup.

Malawi will be out for revenge against the Stallions who defeated them in their home stadium earlier in the qualifying campaign, knowing that a win will qualify them for the Nations Cup for only the second time in their history. 



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