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FIFA confirm nine places for Africa

FIFA World Cup
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Congo name Migne as new coach

Congo
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

2018 World Cup qualifying - how it works

The qualifying process for the 2018 World Cup began on March 12, 2015 with preliminary ties between the 12 lowest-ranked nations in Asia.

Chiquito Do Carmo of Timor-Leste had the honour of scoring the very first goal on the road to Russia in a 4-1 victory at home to Mongolia.

There are 31 places up for grabs, joining hosts Russia.

  

EUROPE:

13 places

• European qualifying home page

Qualifying for 2018 sees seven groups of six nations and two groups of five. 

Russia...

 By Nick Said

FIFA confirm nine places for Africa at 2026 World Cup

Africa could have as many as 10 teams competing at the 2026 World Cup after the allocation for places at the expanded 48-nation competition was ratified by the FIFA Council during their meeting in Bahrain.

Africa is guaranteed nine places, up from the current five, while a 10th nation will enter a six-team play-off tournament to decide the final two qualifiers, raising the potential of an extra place for the continent.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) had been lobbying for at least 10...

 By Nick Said

Stuart Baxter's 'second coming' a calculated risk by SAFA

Stuart Baxter return to Bafana Bafana for a second stint
Stuart Baxter return to Bafana Bafana for a second stint

They say you should never go back. On the face of it, Stuart Baxter's return to the position of national team coach of South Africa looks a professional risk in a country that has had 19 different tacticians at the helm in the past 25 years.

But Baxter knows exactly what he is walking into. He knows the foibles, eccentricities and politics within the halls of the South African Football Association.

He also knows that the country has an exciting mix of youth and experience in their national set-up,...

 By Colin Udoh

Is Gernot Rohr right to ignore the Nigeria Professional Football League?

Gernot Rohr's latest Super Eagles squad has been the topic of fierce debate in Nigeria.

Conversation has raged non-stop since Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr's decision to call up just one player from the Nigeria Professional Football League in the last international break.

Instead, the German chose to take the opportunity of the last FIFA window to look at a few Europe-groomed players.

That decision has opened both the coach and his assistants to criticism, with many questioning his rationale for ignoring the homegrown lads, especially at time of marked improvement in the administration...

 By Colin Udoh

Kwesi Appiah must assert authority in leading Ghana

Building better team chemistry will be key for Kwesi Appiah, who this week was given another chance to lead Ghana's national team.

Early this week, Ghana's FA re-appointed Kwesi Appiah as coach of the senior men's national team. Appiah, who left the job by mutual consent, is now back to replace Avram Grant, the man who was appointed to replace him. There is no doubt that as he gets set to return to the job he left barely three years ago, Appiah will be haunted by the mistakes of his last stint.

Here are three things he could do differently this time

1. Stamp his authority on team

The first thing Kwesi Appiah needs to do is...