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Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Road to Angola and SA continues

Arsenal and Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor
Adebayor scored four goals for Togo last time he played in Ghana

The final round of 2010 qualifying for Africa begins this weekend with 20 teams battling for five World Cup places and 15 Africa Cup of Nations spots.

Emmanuel Adebayor is set to play for Togo against Cameroon on Saturday despite missing the last six weeks for his club Arsenal with a hamstring injury.

The Group A game is being played in the Ghanaian capital Accra because Lome is off limits after violence following a defeat by Mali two years ago.

The last time Adebayor played in the Ohene Djan Stadium in October he scored four goals against Swaziland in a 6-0 win in a 2010 qualifier.

But Adebayor could struggle to have the same impact against five-time World Cup qualifiers Cameroon, as Togo have lost all four previous World Cup clashes with the Indomitable Lions.

Cameroon boast a strong 'spine' in their team of goalkeeper Idriss Kameni, defender Rigobert Song, midfielder Jean Makoun and Samuel Eto'o up front.

And their veteran German coach Otto Pfister will have some knowledge of Togo having led them at the 2006 World Cup in Germany where they lost their three pool games amid a series of bonus-related rows.

The other Group A game is also on Saturday in Casablanca as Morocco host Gabon.

The game brings together two French coaches with Roger Lemerre guiding four-time World Cup qualifiers Morocco and Alain Giresse in charge of outsiders Gabon.

Morocco have missed the last two editions of the World Cup and the only coach to win the European Championship and Nations Cup acknowledged expectations are high.

"We have an obligation to qualify for all big tournaments," Lemerre said.

Gabon striker Daniel Cousin set his sights on the reaching the Nations Cup in Angola.

"I think Cameroon will finish top but we are capable of coming second ahead of Morocco and Togo," the Hull City player said.

Kenya have recalled 35-year-old defender Musa Otieno and made him captain for a Group B Nairobi showdown with Tunisia on Saturday.

The Carthage Eagles coach, Humberto Cuelho, is worried about playing 1,600 metres above sea level.

The other game Group B game is on Sunday in Maputo as Mozambique host Nigeria.

Nigeria and Chelsea's Jon Mikel Obi
Jon Mikel Obi says that he is fit to play Mozambique

The Super Eagles are missing captain Joseph Yobo and striker Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi through injury

But Chelsea midfielder Jon Mikel Obi has declared himself fit to play after recovering from an unspecified illness.

In Group C Algeria are in Kigali on Saturday for a clash with Rwanda, whose 3-1 home win over Morocco in the second round mocked their 'minnows' status.

Meanwhile the other group game is on Sunday as African champions Egypt play host to Zambia.

In Group D Mali travel to Omdurman to face Sudan on Saturday while the following day Ghana host Benin in Kumasi.

Mali will sorely miss injured midfield stars Mahamadou Diarra and Mohammed Sissoko as well as Mamady Sidibe.

The two sides were in the same group in the previous qualifying round with Sudan winning 3-2 at home last year.

The Black Stars welcome back Michael Essien who has started playing for his club Chelsea again after being injured playing for Ghana against Libya in a 2010 qualifier in September.

In Group E Burkina Faso have blossomed under Portuguese coach Paolo Duarte and are favoured to collect maximum points when Guinea visit Ouagadougou on Saturday.

The Stallions caused one of the biggest shocks of the last round of qualifying with a 2-1 triumph in Tunisia.

On Sunday the Ivory Coast will be favourites against visitors Malawi.

The entire Elephants squad play their football outside the Ivory Coast and boasts the likes of Chelsea strikers Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou as well as the Arsenal duo of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue.

One big name that is missing is Yaya Toure who picked up a thigh injury playing for Spanish league leaders Barcelona last Sunday.

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see also
Adebayor given Arsenal go-ahead
27 Mar 09 |  African
Essien admits to Ghana pressure
26 Mar 09 |  African
Toure to miss Elephants' opener
23 Mar 09 |  African
2010 World Cup tables
07 Jun 09 |  African

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