Egypt begins quest to upstage Nigeria in World Cup play-off seeding

Egypt begins quest to upstage Nigeria in World Cup play-off seeding
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Egypt on Wednesday face Lebanon in a possible easy draw that will boost their FIFA ranking

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

With the FIFA Arab Cup beginning in Qatar today, Nigeria’s attention will be focused on the performances of Egypt for two reasons.

First, barely a month from now, both Nigeria and Egypt will meet in the opening Group D match of the Africa Cup of Nations in Garoua, Northern Cameroon.

That is the well known fact. But the hidden fact is that Egypt have at least three competitive matches in the group stage of the Arab World Cup in Qatar where they are facing Sudan, Lebanon and Algeria in Group D.

That gives them at least three competitive matches and Fifa ranking boosting opportunities before the January draw for the World Cup play-off.

The next Fifa ranking is tentatively fixed for 16 December, two days before the close of the Arab Cup in Qatar.

After that, 26 January is fixed for the first ranking in 2022 in the middle of the Africa Cup of Nations.

If Egypt advance beyond the group stage of the Arab Cup, the Pharaohs will have at least six competitive matches that will tremendously boost their likely ranking ahead of the World Cup play-off draw.

Incidentally, it is only Nigeria’s Super Eagles that are at risk of losing their current seeding position where they are placed fifth.

With the Arab Cup, Egypt are presented with golden opportunities of pushing Nigeria down to sixth position as the Super Eagles have  neither a  competitive nor friendly match to garner points ahead of the Nations Cup.

The top four teams of Senegal, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are well secured from possible toppling. Even the trio of Algeria, Morocco and Algeria have added chances of consolidating on account of having matches in the Arab Cup.

Should Nigeria lose their fifth position, they will have to face any of the five top ranked teams and play the decisive second leg away from home.

The Nigeria Football Federation, ahead of the CAF General Assembly ought to have either pressed for an early draw or propose that the ranking obtained as at the time the 10 African teams qualified for the play-off should be used.

In the case of the final draw for the World Cup, FIFA had always used the ranking of qualified teams before play-off to do seeding. This is premise on the fact that teams that qualified from play-off had additional matches.

Egypt will open their Arab Cup account facing Lebanon on Wednesday, a match they are most likely win, even with a second string team.

Nigeria at the 19 November ranking have 1478.78 points while Egypt have 1,449.5, thus only a paltry 29.27 points separate Nigeria from Egypt.  

With the current ranking procedure that place more importance to final round competitions, as Egypt will be having at the Arab Cup, the Super Eagles are likely going to be pushed down ahead of the 22 or 26 January draw.

1 Comment on this Post

  1. Amusa adebayo Yusuf

    Well messi deserved it

    Reply

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