Cote d’Ivoire have maintained their position as the best-placed African country in the latest FIFA World Rankings released on Wednesday.
Egypt regained second place on the list from free-falling Ghana who drop to third, with Burkina Faso and Nigeria making up the top five.
Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Algeria and Tunisia round out the Top 10 and will go into Saturday’s draw as top seeds in their respective groups.
It ensures that none of the above will be pooled together in the group stages of qualifying, though there are a few big names that all will be hoping to avoid, the likes of Morocco, Mali, Guinea and Gabon.
Only the top teams in each group will advance to the final stage of qualifying which will involve a two-legged play-off tie to determine Africa’s five representatives.
But before all that, the 24 lowest ranked sides in Africa must compete just to get into the group stages.
They will play-off in a two-legged tie, with the 12 better ranked sides, namely Gambia, Mozambique, Congo DR, Togo, Liberia, Tanzania, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Namibia, Burundi being drawn against the 12 lower ranked teams.
They are Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Swaziland, Comoros, Lesotho, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Mauritius, Seychelles.
Mauritania have withdrawn from the qualifiers and so will not be taking part.
These 24 sides will be drawn in a two-legged tie that will be played on November 11 and November 15 this year, with the 12 teams to qualify from those matches to join the remaining 28 teams in the draw.
The 40 sides will then be drawn into 10 groups of four sides and they will play on a home and away basis in a round-robin format that will last from June 2012 to September 2013.
The ties between the group winners will be played in October and November 2013, meaning the qualification process in its entirety is two years long, taking in 154 matches.
Four key players and coach will miss Senegal’s penultimate game of the 2012 Africa Nations Cup qualifiers after receiving various bans from governing body Caf.
Fenerbahçe forward Mamadou Niang, Bordeaux midfielder Lamine Sane and the coach were each handed a one-match ban, while Issiar Dia and Olympique Marseille’s central defender Souleymane Diawara received two-match suspensions.
The referee of the encounter, Helder Carvalho, booked four Senegal players and sent off two others, Dia and Sane during a busy match where aggression prevailed, but decisions were not easily accepted by the Senegalese players or staff.
The Teranga Lions coach, Amara Traore, was also sent off for contesting the referee’s decisions, and captain Niang complained to the official too.
The Senegal Football Federation (FSF) immediately reacted to the decision, pointing at Diawara’s case as a mistake by Caf.
“Souleymane Diawara was never given a card during the match, and so needed not to be on the list. We have sent a fax to notify Caf of the error,” a statement from the FSF published on Friday by Senegal Press Agency, APS, said.
Senegal Prime Minister Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye had denounced the performance of the encounter’s referee, Carvalho, accusing Caf president Issa Hayatou – a Cameroonian – of being responsible.
“Issa Hayatou no longer have the merit to lead Caf. He sat and watched with his eyes in his homeland an officiating scandal, which does not bring pride to refereeing in Africa,” Ndiaye had said.
Senegal lead Group E with 10 points ahead of DR Congo on seven, while Cameroon, with only five points and two matches remaining, have their chances to reach the continental showpiece hanging by a thread.
Algeria is the latest country to officially declare interest in hosting the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Officials of the north African state have now joined South Africa in trying to host the event which was originally scheduled to take place in Libya.
“It might help in our bid to qualify for the next World Cup finals,” federation spokesman Abdelkader Berdja told reporters at a weekend press conference.
South Africa, which will host the 2017 tournament, has already announced its intention to offer itself as a substitute for the Libyans, should their civil conflict not end shortly.
The next Nations Cup finals are to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon next year after which they move from every even year to every odd, starting just 12 months later in Libya.
The 2015 finals are in Morocco and the 2017 tournament awarded to South Africa, who hosted last year’s World Cup.
South Africa in April stepped in to replace Libya as hosts of this year’s African Youth Championships.
Libyan league football has been suspended since mid-February but clubs continued to play in continental club competitions, by forfeiting their right to play their home leg in knockout ties, which were reduced to a single match at their opponent’s home ground.
Not surprisingly, no Libyan side got past the third round of the African Champions League and African Confederation Cup preliminaries.
Libya’s national team used Mali as their home ground in the Nations Cup qualifier in March and played in the Comoros Islands last month.
But Libya have withdrawn their team from the All-Africa Games qualifier this weekend, handing opponent Egypt a bye into the final tournament in Maputo in September.
A definite decision on the 2013 CAN host will be made in the next Caf executive meeting in September.
Striker Asamoah Gyan was named the sports personality of the year in the 36th edition of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana Awards held in Accra on Saturday.
The Sunderland ace fend off competition from international teammate Richard Kingson and IBF bantamweight boxer Joseph Agbeko to emerge winner of the grand prize in a colourful ceremony held at the Banquet Hall of the State House.
Gyan also picked up the award of Footballer of the Year beating competition from Richard Kingson and Andre Ayew.
The 25-year-old gained international recognition in the year under review(2010) when his three goals helped the Black Stars to an unprecedented 2010 Fifa World Cup quarter finals berth – equaling the African record in the tournament in the the process.
His exploits at the mundial earned him a £13m move to English side Sunderland where he became an instant hit with the fans at Wearside.
Gyan, affectionately called Baby Jet, led Ghana’s attack and sent them to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola in February but lost out on the trophy to Egypt.
The ex Liberty Professionals player came second to Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o in the 2010 Caf Footballer of the year award.
His popularity became profound when his was featured by hiplife artiste Castro to produce the famous African Girls hit track.
Veteran Nigeria striker Perpetua Nkwocha has announced her international retirement.
The 35-year-old’s announcement follows the Super Falcons poor performance at this year’s Fifa Womens World Cup in Germany where they failed to make it past the group stages.
“This is certainly my last World Cup and the best time to leave the stage for the younger ones to express themselves.
“Nobody can say that l have not contributed to the growth of the game, but right now it is time to move up in life,’ she said.
Nkwocha has represented Nigeria at four African Women Championships between 2002 and 2004, winning all four, three Olympic Games tournaments and three World Cups.
She overtook Mercy Akide as the leading goal scorer at the African Women Championships, although she has failed to score at the World Cup.
It is an imbalance she is keen to redress.
“We have the game against Canada being our last but all hope for me is not lost even though l thought that by now l would have scored,” she said.
“Against France l played very deep and against Germany l played in the midfield so maybe this time around l could be placed in the good position that would enable me score.”
Cote d’Ivoire has knocked Ghana of the perch as the topmost ranked team on the African continent in the latest Fifa/Coca Cola rankings released on Wednesday.
Amassing 922 points, the west African state is now ranked 14th on the world rankings – bettering last month’s 21.
Victory over Benin in the 2012 Africa Nations Cup qualifier played a significant role in the leap as they recorded an impressive 774.00 in the month under review.
Ghana, the previous occupants of topspot in Africa on the other hand, dropped a massive 18 places and are now ranked 33rd in the world.
Tunisia broke into the top 1o, sending Libya to 13th while Cameroon dropped just one place.
Top 10 African rankings (Fifa rankings)
1. Cote d’Ivoire (14)
2. Ghana (33)
3. Egypt (34)
4. Burkina Faso (37)
5. Nigeria (41)
6. Senegal (43)
7. Cameroon (47)
8. South Africa (48)
9. Algeria (51)
10. Tunisia (57)
Mifielder Alex Song has instructed his lawyers to challenge the verdict of the Cameroon Football Federation which placed a fine on him on disciplinary grounds.
The Arsenal player was fined €1.500 for failing to exchange pleasantries with captain Samuel Eto’o ahead of the crucial 2012 Nations Cup qualifier with Senegal.
Speaking to Xinhua on Tuesday in Yaounde, Song’s lawyer Sebastien Song argued that his client’s refusal to take a handshake from Eto’o was not an infraction of the Fecafoot rules.
“The fact that you refuse to shake hands with a team-mate does not constitute a breach of the body’s rules and regulations,” the lawyer said.
“The incident took place in a private gathering and can’t be blamed on my client (Alex Song). More to that, the coach who was present at the scene did to include the incident in his report to the FA because he felt Alex didn’t break any rules.”
Alex Song had been summoned for an “attitude of contempt” towards Samuel Eto’o, after he avoided the Inter forward’s handshake in a Yaounde hotel the group was staying at ahead of the Senegal face-off.
The fine was however converted to a three-day community service of sporting interest where Song will be asked to carry out training sessions with youths from a football academy to be designated by the Fecafoot, but of which the player’s lawyer vows to contest.
“It is a stupefying verdict that we’ll not sit back and accept. It is totally unjust and we’ll use all available means to appeal and overturn it,” the lawyer said.
Eto’o was cleared while Tottenhem’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto was reprimanded for an unauthorised absence in camp ahead of an important match.
Al Ahly have dismissed reports that Manuel Jose is being courted to become the next coach of Egypt’s senior national team, The Pharaohs.
News rife in Egypt suggests the Egyptian FA is in talks with officials of Ahly to reach a deal which will see the former Angola coach succeed Hassan Shehata who resigned last month.
But the Ahly board member Khaled Mortagey says his club has never been contacted by anyone with respect to the coach. And even if it happens the answer was always going to be no.
“I think they (EFA) knew what the outcome would be and that’s why they didn’t contact us,” he told BBC Sport.
“If Ahly had been approached the answer would have been no.”
The Pharaohs, who have won the last three Nations Cups, are bottom of Group G of the 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers and almost certainly out of contention for next year’s finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Mortagey pointed out that Jose had come back to Ahly after stints with Angola and in Saudi Arabia.
“Manuel Jose has a contract with Ahly, he came back specially to the club and ignored many other offers,” he added.
“They know very well Manuel Jose would never coach any other club in Egypt apart from Ahly, not even the national team.
“He is coming for a special mission to build a new team and to hopefully win more trophies in the coming 2 or 3 years.”
Egypt’s next 2012 Nations Cup qualifier is away to Sierra Leone in September.
A quorum of clubs have passed a vote of no confidence on the current board of the Egypt Football Association.
The clubs believe major changes need to be rung in the administration of football in the north African country in conformity with modern trends of the global game.
However, the EFA is already protesting the validity of the quorum and its resolution, saying notice must first be served to the FA and the government before such a move can take place.
It is widely believed that the inability of Egypt to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea served as the main catalyst for such a radical move.
Midfielder Alex Song has been fined by the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) for disrespecting captain Samuel Eto’o.
The federation announced on Sunday evening after a disciplinary hearing that the 23-year-old had been fined 1million Central African francs (£1,355), severely reprimanded and ordered to carry out three days’ training with young players after he refused to shake Eto’o's hand before the Indomitable Lions’ African Nations Cup qualifier against Senegal on June 4.
Eto’o was accused of missing a training session and showing a lack of discipline towards Clemente for disputing a substitution during the Senegal game, but he was cleared.
Switch to our mobile site