Salah adjusts the venues for the World Cup.

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Johannesburg:

Mohamed Salah, fresh from scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City, turned his attention to the 2022 World Cup qualifiers this week as Egypt hope to get their campaign back on track.

The record seven-time African champions face Group F leaders at home and abroad and need at least four points to take first place before the last two rounds in November.

Only 10 group winners advance to the final qualifying round, with Egypt and fellow first-timers Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Here, AFP Sport looks at the situation in each group, with 41 matchday two, three and four qualifiers scheduled for seven days from Wednesday.

Under the captaincy of Riaz Mehriz, the current African champion Algeria has an excellent home record against Niger in the World Cup qualifiers, scoring 10 counter-goals in two matches.

Another reliable home win is for a team that boasts an unbeaten African record of 29 matches, but second-placed Burkina Faso is likely to be level on points with Algeria after beating Djibouti.

Table toppers Tunisia have won all four World Cup qualifiers against Mauritania and there is nothing to suggest that they will not extend this perfect record in the Reds.

A Tunisian team led by Wahhabi Khuzri of St. Etienne and coach Monder Cabaret entered the match with two impressive victories, while the Mauritanians were disappointed to lose twice.

Apart from a comfortable victory for Nigerian leaders over the Central African Republic, it is difficult to imagine any outcome in Lagos, which will lack Atletico Madrid midfielder Godfrey Kondogbia.

After last month’s home win against Liberia, Cape Verde was won by a very weak Super Eagles and they will return with full force for a tour of the wild beasts.

Rival Cameroon and Ivory Coast are considered to be the toughest sections to win and have qualified for the World Cup 10 times between them.

The Ivorians took a one-point lead with a 2-1 home win over Cameroon, but the recent poor condition of the pitch at the open national stadium in Abidjan means they will have to host Malawi in Benin.

Mali has made a good start in the only section that does not include the previous World Cup qualifiers, which has a two-point lead over Kenya and Uganda over Rwanda.

A Malian squad, including Southampton midfielder Musa Genipo, has been ruled out of a home match in Morocco due to poor condition of their stadiums, but they are in favor of beating Kenya.

Libya marched on Egypt, snatching a late home victory over Gabon of Pierre-Emerick Obemiang and then winning in Angola.

After shedding Angola, Egypt were fortunate to have Gabon and draw coach Hassam al-Badri hired by former Real Madrid manager and Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queries.

Pacers South Africa face boogie team Ethiopia, who snatched four points from them in the 2014 qualifiers, which resulted in the dismissal of Bafana Bafana (The Boys) coach Patsu Mausmana and Gordon Axend.

There will be new coaches for the back-to-back meeting between Ghana and Zimbabwe, with Serb Milovan Rajivak replacing Charles Aconor in the Black Stars and Norman Mapeza in the Warriors after Krot Zedrauko Lugersek.

Sadio Mane’s Senegal could take first place with two victories over nearby challenges Namibia, another country that is impressed by the quality of the stadium and is forced to host matches in neighboring South Africa.

The biggest threat to the Senegalese will probably come from Peter Shaloli, a permanent scorer for South Africa’s dominant club Mamlodi Sundowns.

Morocco, whose first-choice line-up includes star Sevilla forward Youssef Neseri, will play a ’round’ match at home against Guinea-Bissau and Guinea, which will be of great benefit to them.

Leader Guinea-Bissau does not have an international standard stadium, while FIFA currently considers Guinea an unsafe destination after Morocco was forced to flee Conakry last month.

Tanzania were seeded fourth, but Benin took a three-goal lead with a goal from section favorite DR Congo and two goals from 35-year-old Domursi Mombakani.

The top two meet in Dar es Salaam and Cotonou, and former Easton Villa forward Mbwana Samata is the captain of the Tanzanian team, coached by Dan Kim Paulson.





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