WINDHOEK – Namibia will kick-start her 2022 Qatar Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign with a preliminary round clash against northeast African nation Eritrea, it was confirmed at yesterday’s draw held at the Confederation of African Football (Caf) headquarters in Cairo.
Yesterday’s draw only featured Africa’s 28 lowest-ranked teams in the latest FIFA rankings to take part and saw Namibia being thrown in Pot 1 with the likes of Zimbabwe, Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Tanzania as they were all ranked between 27th and 40th in Africa this month.
Pot 2 features Comoros, Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mauritius, Gambia, South Sudan, Chad, Sao Tome e Principe, Seychelles, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea, while the likes of Senegal, Tunisia, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Guinea, Cape Verde, Uganda, Zambia, Benin, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Madagascar, Niger, Libya, Mauritania, Kenya and Central African Republic all got byes.
The 14 preliminary round winners and the 26 countries who received byes will proceed to be split into 10 groups of four after a fresh draw with the first matches scheduled for March next year. Group winners then go into five two-leg playoffs with the winners qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
For Namibia, the Brave Warriors will face Eritrea in a two-legged affair between September 2 to 10, with Namibia expected to host the first leg in Windhoek before Eritrea plays host to the reverse role of that fixture.
Namibia is currently ranked 121 in the world and 30th in Africa, while Eritrea is ranked 202 in the world and ranked last in Africa.