CAF World Cup Qualifying

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State of play for final matches of African World Cup qualifying

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Three World Cup berths are still in play for a total of eight African nations this weekend.

Nigeria won Group B and Egypt claimed Group E earlier in the Fall.

[ MORE: N. Ireland reacts to PK call ]

Here’s what’s up in Groups A, C, and D.

Group A

Tunisia leads Democratic Republic of Congo by three points and two goals worth of difference heading into Saturday’s visit from Libya. A single point sends the Eagles of Carthage to their first World Cup since 2006.

DR Congo needs Tunisia to lose versus Libya, and a win over Guinea, and two goals improved difference. If both were one-goal results, it would come down to goals scored. Both enter the day with 11. The third tiebreaker is points between the team, and Tunisia wins that with a win and draw.

Group C

Pretty cut-and-dried here: Morocco has one more point than Ivory Coast heading into Saturday’s match in Abidjan. The hosts have to win, while Morocco simply needs a draw or win.

Group D

All four nations remain alive thanks to referee Joseph Lamptey, who was banned for life after a horrendous penalty decision gave South Africa a win over Senegal.

That match was annulled, and is going to be replayed Friday in Polokwane. If Senegal wins, they are in the World Cup.

If Senegal draws or loses, all four teams will have a chance to advance on Tuesday. That day will see Cape Verde at Burkina Faso and South Africa reversing the fixture in Senegal.

As for the other sides…

South Africa maxes out with 10 points, and controls its own destiny. It must win, and cannot draw either match against Senegal.

Burkina Faso maxes out at nine points, so it needs to beat Cape Verde, and make up four goals of differential on Senegal while Senegal gets exactly one point from South Africa.

Cape Verde maxes out at nine points, so it needs to beat Burkina Faso, and make up eight goals of differential on Senegal while Senegal gets exactly one point from South Africa.

FIFA rejects Ghana complaint over World Cup qualifying game

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it will not act on Ghana’s complaint about refereeing in a World Cup qualifying match last weekend.

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The Ghana federation wanted its 0-0 draw in Uganda replayed, and also protested about South African referee Daniel Bennett and his assistants from Seychelles.

Ghana’s failure to win meant Egypt, which beat Republic of Congo 2-1 the next day, advanced to play in Russia.

FIFA says “no proceedings will be opened around the World Cup qualifier match Uganda vs. Ghana.”

Ghana believed two goals were disallowed for incorrect offside decisions. Replays suggested a stoppage-time goal should have counted.

[ MORE: Gulati’s reaction says much of the same can be expected for US Soccer ]

The request followed FIFA last month ordering a replay of a South Africa-Senegal qualifier played last year. Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey was later found guilty of fixing and banned for life.

CAF World Cup qualifying wrap: Moses brace guides Nigeria past Algeria

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As the early stages of CAF World Cup qualifying rolled on Saturday afternoon, Nigeria, South Africa and Burkina Faso were just a few of the day’s big winners as they each made positive strides towards World Cup 2018.

[ MORE: Italy, Spain win big in Saturday’s UEFA WCQ action ]

Nigeria 3-1 Algeria

Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel each scored for Nigeria as the Chelsea duo pushed their country past Algeria on Saturday. Nabil Bentaleb pulled a goal back for the visitors in the second stanza, however, it wasn’t enough for Algeria, who fell to the bottom of Group B. Nigeria currently sits atop the group on six points through two matches.

South Africa 2-1 Senegal

Thulani Hlatshwayo and Thulani Serero each scored for South Africa in the final three minutes of the first half to give the hosts a win on Saturday. Hlatshwayo got things going in the 43rd minute from the penalty spot, before Serero doubled the lead two minutes later. Cheikh Ndoye pulled a goal back for Senegal with 15 minutes remaining, but their comeback effort fell short on the road.

Elsewhere

Morocco 0-0 Ivory Coast
Uganda 1-0 Congo
Cameroon 1-1 Zambia
Cape Verde Islands 0-2 Burkina Faso
Mali 0-0 Gabon

Nigeria beat Ethiopia to clinch spot in Brazil

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Nigeria are through to their fifth World Cup in the past two decades, thanks to a 4-1 aggregate win over Ethiopia. The Super Eagles win was really no surprise, given that they came to Nigeria with a 2-1 victory. But goals from Victor Moses and Victor Obinna sealed the deal, and Nigeria are now free to book themselves tickets to Brazil — after a crazy party, one hopes.

The first goal came 20 minutes into the first half, when Victor Moses stepped up to the spot in hopes of putting a Nigeria win out of reach. He sent his penalty kick low and to his right, while Ethiopia goalkeeper Sisay Bancha went the other way. The Super Eagles’ second came courtesy of the man who had replaced Moses just minutes before. Victor Obinna sent in a lovely free kick, albeit straight at the keeper. Bancha should have done better but the ball seemed to fly through the keeper’s fingers, landing in the back of the net…or possibly in Brazil.

There’s a smidgen of sadness surrounding this one, at least for the neutrals. For Ethiopia, it must be more than a smidgen. They were the continent’s Cinderella story. After finally qualifying this year for their first Africa Cup of Nations in over 30 years, they had a chance to make it to their first ever World Cup. The Walias were the last remaining team to make it through from the first round of qualifiers, the ones that Africa’s lesser-ranked sides must go through. They made it through a tough match against Nigeria only to see a harsh penalty awarded that gave the visitors the lead. And in this match, the first goal came in the same manner, with the referee calling a handball on Aynalem Hailu, the same player who conceded the last minute penalty in the first leg.

But, however much the fans might want a fairy tale ending, players and coaches aren’t paid to deliver one. Nigeria’s mission was to make it to Brazil, no matter what good storylines they might wreck while getting there. The Super Eagles accomplished that mission, and it’s now time for Stephen Keshi to concentrate on how to ready his side to face the best in the world.

Nigeria coach hasn’t been paid in seven months

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Despite winning the Africa Cup of Nations in February and leading Nigeria to within one game of qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, head coach Stephen Keshi claimed he has not been paid in seven months. He told the BBC on Thursday that it is “the lowest point of my career.”

“I have never had this kind of experience before,” said Keshi, who coached Togo and Mali before taking the Nigeria job in 2011. “In Mali, they will never owe you. Your salary will hit your account before the end of every month. It was the same thing in Togo.”

The Nigerian Football Federation is having serious money problems, as it also owes back pay to assistant coach Daniel Amokachi and goalkeeper coach Ike Shorunmu. The NFF receives its funding from the Nigerian sports ministry.

However, the federation has stated that bonuses and allowances have not been withheld, and those should be enough for the coaches to pay living expenses.

“If there is any NFF member who said we can work for free, then I will want to speak with him face to face,” Keshi said. “I will be in debt because I have not been paid for seven months, and somebody is saying we should not complain.”

Nigeria defeated Ethiopia, 2-1, in the first leg of African World Cup qualification playoffs on Oct. 13 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, behind two goals from Emmanuel Emenike. The second leg is set for Nov. 16 in Calabar, Nigeria, and an anonymous source with the NFF told the BBC that the coaches’ pay problems would hopefully be resolved by then.

“It’s embarrassing to be dealing with something like this ahead of a crucial game,” the source said. “Sadly, our terrible financial situation is solely responsible for this. We are hopeful this will be resolved before the game against Ethiopia.”