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Final 2010 places up for grabs

SA 2010 logo
The last places at the World Cup are up for grabs this weekend

The race to represent Africa at the continent's first World Cup comes to a conclusion this weekend.

Ghana and Ivory Coast have already secured their places alongside hosts South Africa at the 2010 World Cup.

On Saturday Cameroon, Gabon, Tunisia, Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt have the chance to join them.

The final places at the African Cup of Nations in Angola will also be determined by the weekend's action.

GROUP A

Cameroon lead the way in this group - topping the table by a point from Gabon.

Cameroon are in Morocco and a win will make sure of a place at their sixth World Cup finals.

Cameroon (yellow) play Austria
Cameroon have a place at the 2010 World Cup within their grasp

But if they lose or draw, and Gabon beat Togo in Lome, then the Panthers of Gabon will secure a remarkable qualification.

So everything rests on Saturday's matches.

"We know that in one game, everything can happen," Cameroon star Geremi told the BBC.

"I can say I'm used to it (the pressure) but now I'm not the only one, this is a squad.

"For some of them it's their first occasion - that's why it's so exciting."

Togo are in pole position for the remaining Nations Cup spot - but if they draw or lose against Gabon then Morocco can overtake them by beating Cameroon.

GROUP B

Just like Group A, the two teams in contention for the World Cup are away from home on Saturday.

Table-topping Tunisia are in Mozambique, who have an excellent record at home.

Nigeria fan with flag
Nigeria fans face a tense wait to see if their team will make it

They restricted Nigeria to a 0-0 draw and beat Kenya - who are the fourth team in the group.

Tunisia lead by two points from Nigeria, so victory in Maputo will make sure of their place in South Africa.

"Reaching the World Cup would be a dream," Tunisian left-back Yassin Mikari told the BBC.

"This will be the most important match of my life - you can never have this chance again in your life, so you have to give everything.

"The World Cup being in Africa is a special motivation, so we have to win this game."

Standing by to take advantage if the Tunisians slip up are Nigeria, who are two points behind them in the table and go to Kenya.

The Super Eagles are under huge pressure from the fans back home, but they know that unless they win they cannot make it to South Africa.

GROUP C

If you want a tense, hard-fought derby match on which hangs a place at the biggest single sports event in the world, Cairo is the place to be on Saturday.

Egypt fans queue for tickets
Tickets for Egypt v Algeria are hard to come by in Cairo

Hosts Egypt take on their bitter regional rivals Algeria in a straight tussle for the final World Cup spot from this group.

A win for Egypt will take them level on points with the Algerians - so it will come down to goal difference.

If the Pharaohs win by three goals or more, they will go to the World Cup.

If Egypt win by just one goal, it's a draw or Algeria win then the Desert Foxes will top the table.

And if Egypt win by two goals, the two sides will have to be separated by a play-off - which will take place in Sudan on Wednesday.

The remaining place at the Nations Cup will be taken by either Zambia or Rwanda.

They meet in Kigali and the Amavubi of Rwanda have to win by two goals to grab the spot in Angola.

GROUP D

Ghana fans
Ghana fans are already celebrating their place at the World Cup

The matches in Group D are almost meaningless, because Ghana have already made sure of their place at the World Cup.

The Black Stars are at home to Mali on Sunday, who are certain of their Nations Cup berth.

In the other game, Sudan host Benin.

Sudan are six points adrift of their visitors, who thus cannot be caught in the race for Angola.

GROUP E

There is marginally more interest remaining in this group.

Ivory Coast, who will be without the injured Didier Drogba, cannot be caught at the top of the group and are already preparing for the World Cup.

They host Guinea, who are a point behind Malawi in the table.

If Guinea pull off a remarkable win in Abidjan and Malawi lose or draw against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou then the Syli Nationale will snatch the final place for the Nations Cup.

If the Flames of Malawi get a victory then they cannot be caught and will go to their first Nations Cup since 1984.

And if Guinea draw with the Ivorians and the Malawi lose, then they will be tied on four points each with identical head-to-head records.

In that event the spot in next week's draw for the Nations Cup will be decided on overall goal difference.



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see also
Egypt, Algeria appeal for calm
10 Nov 09 |  African
Crunch time for Egypt and Algeria
13 Nov 09 |  Middle East
Geremi - 'we are almost ready'
12 Nov 09 |  African
Kenya turmoil ahead of Nigeria match
11 Nov 09 |  African
Nooij seeks Tunisia scalp
09 Nov 09 |  African
2010 World Cup
25 Oct 09 |  African


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