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African World Cup Qualification – Game Week 5 Key Contests

We currently sit halfway through the seemingly endless African World Cup qualification and for many the next round of fixtures are likely to be make or break as they look to book their place in the third and final round. Here we take a look at five clashes coming up that could prove pivotal in the race to make the next stage:-

Congo v Gabon

Should Congo see off Gabon they would seal their spot in the play offs and give themselves a chance of making a World Cup debut in 2014. However a defeat for the side who have thus far won three out of three could throw the group wide open; Gabon would move to within three whilst a win for Burkina Faso or Niger in the other fixture on this date would see them also move to within three. With the Congolese set for a trip to the Cup of Nations Runners up in their following fixture they will want to do things the easy way.

Benin v Algeria

Group H is still very much up in the air and whilst this game won’t make anything certain it has the potential to at least set things a little more clearer particularly given that in the other round four fixture Mali are expected to see off Rwanda. Should the Malians do what is predicted of them then defeat for either Benin or Algeria could be terminal, particularly for Benin who face a tough fixture away to Mali following this one. A win for either would give them a real shot at making the next stage, particularly Algeria who currently sit level with Mali and have the luxury of a home game against the group favourites on the final day.

Morocco v Tanzania

Tanzania despite currently being above their opponents start this one as underdogs, yet if they can somehow get the victory they will swing Group C wide open. Ivory Coast started as favourites and whilst they do sit top they will be hoping for a favour from Morocco, for a Tanzania win would leave the Elephants with a challenging trip to Dar es Salaam in match day five and with just a point to play with. Tanzania might not be favourites against Morocco but a 3-1 win in the reverse fixture should fill them with confidence against a side who are yet to win.

Angola v Senegal

When the draw was made these were the sides expected to dominate Group J, yet neither has been able to fully assert their dominance. The Senegalese do however sit top and a point clear of Liberia and a win here would firmly push them towards the next stage, however Angola remain only two points adrift of the leaders and this will be a game they know they must win if they are to stay in contention. Should neither side win then Liberia could thrust themselves into pole position and really upset the apple cart.

Kenya v Nigeria

Making round three is proving far more of a challenge than many had expected for the current Champions of Africa, with the Super Eagles currently locked level on points with Malawi. Having only retained their place at the top in the reverse Kenya fixture through a 94th minute equaliser they must now find their best form, particularly given that Malawi face a Namibia side at home they successfully beat away just three months ago.