The qualifying series of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations enter into the fast lane this weekend as 24 matches are on the card this week. The competition which preliminary began in March when six matches were played has now entered the group stage.
Coincidentally, the actions begin in Group E featuring Nigeria, South Africa, Libya and Seychelles.
Even though the attentions have largely been on the big fixture, Nigeria hosting South Africa, the series actually begin this Friday with the Libya versus Seychelles fixture which will be played at the same time with the Group A match pairing Sudan against visiting Madagascar.
This weekend’s matches are the only ones to be played this year as Match Day 2 will be in September next year. That will be 15 months from now and after the conclusion of next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
By the time the qualifying series are concluded in November 2018, 150 matches would have been played, including the six earlier played in March.
Fifteen teams will qualify to join the hosts, Cameroon from the 51 entries for the competition. Only two CAF affiliates, Eritrea and Somalia did not enter.
Also, the Chad team was thrown out for the withdrawal from the qualifying series of the 2017 edition. The premature withdrawal technically threw Nigeria out of the competition following Egypt’s unassailable lead as Nigeria’s earlier defeat of Chad was annulled.
This weekend’s Fixtures
Group E: Libya vs Seychelles (22:00 hours)
Group A: Sudan vs Madagascar (22:00 hours)
Group B: Malawi vs Comoros (14:30 hours)
Group C: Burundi vs South Sudan (15: 00 hours)
Group B: Cameroon vs Morocco (15:00 hours)
Group K: Zambia vs Mozambique (15:00 hours)
Group I: Botswana vs. Mauritania (15:30 hours)
Group J: Niger vs Swaziland (16:00 hours)
Group K: Guinea-Bissau vs Namibia (16:00 hours)
Group F: Sierra Leone vs Kenya (16: 30 hours)
Group L: Cape Verde vs Uganda (16:30 hours)
Group E: Nigeria vs South Africa (17: 00 hours)
Group 1: Burkina Faso vs Angola (18:00 hours)
Group G: RD Congo vs Congo (18:30 hours)
Group C: Mali vs Gabon (19:00 hours)
Group A: Senegal vs Equatorial Guinea (20:00 hours)
Group L: Tanzania vs Lesotho (20:00 hours)
Group H: Cote d’Ivoire vs Guinea (20:00 hours)
Group G: Zimbabwe vs Liberia (15:00 hours)
Group H: Central African Republic vs Rwanda (15:00 hours)
Group F: Ghana vs Ethiopia (15:30 hours)
Group D: Benin vs Gambia (16:00 hours)
Group D: Algeria vs Togo (22:00 hours)
Group J: Tunisia vs Egypt (23:00 hours)