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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
African Cup of Nations preview
South Africa coach Carlos Alberta Parreira
Carlos Alberto Parreira will take over as South Africa coach next year
South Africa's chances of qualifying for the 2008 African Cup of Nations finals will suffer a severe setback if they lose in Zambia on Sunday.

Defeat would leave the 2010 World Cup hosts five points behind Group 11 leaders Zambia with four matches to play.

The match in Lusaka is one of 22 taking place this weekend in the second round of qualifiers, with only the 12 group winners advancing to the finals in Ghana, plus the three best second-place teams.

Former Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who takes charge of South Africa early next year, will accompany the side to Zambia.

South Africa were held to a 0-0 home draw by Congo in their opening qualifier last month while Zambia won 2-0 in Chad.

The visitors go into Sunday's game without striker Benni McCarthy, who rejected a plea to play from caretaker coach Pitso Mosimane.

McCarthy, who has scored five goals for English Premier League Blackburn Rovers since his pre-season move from Portugal, is refusing to play for his country after media criticism of his display at the Nations Cup finals in Egypt earlier this year.

There is also a doubt over Sibusiso Zuma because his club side Arminia Bielefeld do not want him to play.

Zuma ended a six-month injury absence when he played for the German team at the weekend, and scored on his return.

World Cup finalists Angola play their first home match in more than a year when they host Kenya in Group Six on Sunday.

"It will be important to ensure we win for the sake of the crowd," said midfielder Andre.

Togo will welcome back Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor after he refused to play against Benin last month in the on-going row over World Cup bonus payments.

The Togolese travel to Mali for a tough Group Nine qualifier on Sunday.

Mauritius coach Sarjoo Gowreesungkur
Mauritius coach Sarjoo Gowreesungkur has called up three teenagers

Tunisia, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Mauritius in their opening game, will be without injured Brazilian-born striker Francileudo dos Santos for Saturday's Group Four meeting with Sudan in Tunis.

The other Group Four game is an all island affair as the Seychelles host Mauritius, who have included three France-based teenagers in their squad.

Coach Sarjoo Gowreesungkur has called up Arassen Ragaven, who plays for first division Lorient, Daniel Sudanum and Johann Khodabaccus who are both with lower divsion clubs in France.

Ivory Coast, under new German coach Uli Stielike, entertain Gabon in Group One on Sunday.

Stielike has already made an impact by omitting Paris St Germain striker Bonaventure Kalou, a former captain of the Ivorians.

It is the first competitive game for Ivory Coast since their opening-round elimination in the World Cup finals.

Former champions Cameroon and Nigeria face tricky ties this weekend against little-known opposition.

Cameroon, without injured striker Samuel Eto'o, host Equatorial Guinea in Group Five while Nigeria travel to Lesotho for a Group Three clash.

"For a country like ours to play against the big guns is really motivating," said Lesotho coach Motheo Mohapi.

"We are aiming to pull off a shock."

Lesotho's chances of causing an upset have been boosted by the withdrawal from the Super Ealges squad of the injured striker Osaze Odemwingie, John Utaka who cannot travel because of a passport problem and Jay-Jay Okocha, who was not given enough notice to join the team.

Fixtures:

Group 1
Sunday: Ivory Coast v Gabon
Bye: Madagascar

Group 2
Saturday: Botswana 0-0 Egypt
Sunday: Burundi v Mauritania

Group 3
Sunday: Lesotho v Nigeria
Sunday: Niger v Uganda

Group 4
Saturday: Seychelles 2-1 Mauritius
Saturday: Tunisia 1-0 Sudan

Group 5
Sunday: Cameroon 3-0 Equatorial Guinea
Sunday: Liberia v Rwanda

Group 6
Saturday: Eritrea 0-0 Swaziland
Sunday: Angola v Kenya

Group 7
Saturday: Burkina Faso 1-0 Senegal
Sunday: Mozambique v Tanzania

Group 8
Saturday: Algeria 1-0 Gambia
Sunday: Cape Verde Islands 1-0 Guinea

Group 9
Sunday: Mali v Togo
Sunday: Benin v Sierra Leone

Group 10
Sunday: Libya v DR Congo
Saturday: Namibia 1-0 Ethiopia

Group 11
Saturday: Zambia v South Africa
Sunday: Congo v Chad

Group 12
Saturday: Malawi 1-0 Zimbabwe
Bye: Morocco


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