Marcel Desailly draws Nigeria during the 2010 World Cup draw
Nigeria and South Africa will play in the same 2010 World Cup qualifying group after the
draw of 48 African teams in Durban.
Rapidly improving Equatorial Guinea and struggling Sierra Leone complete Group 4, easily the toughest of the 12 second-round pools.
South Africa are automatically through to the finals as hosts but must compete as the qualifiers also count toward the 2010 African Nations Cup in Angola.
Bafana Bafana played their first World Cup qualifier 15 years ago in Lagos and suffered a 4-0 drubbing from the Super Eagles.
Nigeria reached three consecutive World Cup tournaments from 1994 while South Africa appeared at the 1998 and 2002 editions.
Cameroon, African qualifiers a record five times, are in Group 1 with the Cape Verde Islands, Tanzania and Mauritius and seem certain to advance.
Ivory Coast, who boast African Footballer of the Year Didier Drogba, should not be troubled by Group 7 opponents Mozambique, Botswana and Madagascar.
Morocco, coached by wily Frenchman Henri Michel, can look forward confidently to tackling Group 8 rivals Ethiopia, Rwanda and Mauritania.
Another French coach, Claude le Roy, will lead 2006 World Cup qualifiers Ghana into Group 5 action against dark horses Libya, Gabon and Lesotho.
African champions Egypt will fear the talented but often disorganised DR Congo most in Group 12, which is completed by Malawi and Djibouti.
Tunisia, who have appeared four times at the World Cup, seem set to top Group 9 after being drawn with Burkina Faso, Burundi and Seychelles.
But Angola and Togo, sensational qualifiers for the 2006 finals in Germany, will not have easy passages.
Angola should fear Benin most in Group 3 while Uganda are much improved and came close to making the 2008 African Nations Cup.
Niger complete the line-up.
Togo are the most disadvantaged of the 12 top seeds having to play all three home matches at neutral venues after recent crowd violence against Mali.
They confront Zambia, a team thirsting for revenge after a 4-1 thrashing in Lome during the last qualifiers, Eritrea and Swaziland in Group 11.
Algeria, trying to regain the form that delivered two consecutive World Cup appearances in the 1980s, look the biggest threat to Group 6 top seeds Senegal.
Guinea, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya, the most powerful of the fourth seeds, are in Group 2, which appears wide open.
And Group 10 first seeds Mali can expect problems from Congo and Sudan, the most improved team in Africa this year, while Chad are outsiders.
There have been 28 African qualifiers for the World Cup since 1934 with quarter-finalists Cameroon (1990) and Senegal (2002) going furthest.
The 12 group winners and the best eight runners-up advance to the third and final qualifying phase.
Cape Verde Islands