The 2026 World Cup is just three years away, but qualifying for the finals will begin in Africa in November 2023. CAF has unveiled its schedule.
Qualification for the 2026 World Cup begins in November in the African zone. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) published the program for this campaign on Tuesday August 29. Matchdays 1 and 2 will be played between November 7 and 21, 2023. Matchdays 3 and 4 will take place in June 2024. Days 5 and 6 will take place in March 2025. Matchdays 7 and 8 will take place in September 2025, and Matchdays 9 and 10 in October 2025. The first clashes will take place on Matchday 3, with Egypt-Burkina Faso (Group A) and Nigeria-South Africa (Group C).
It should be noted that Africa will have 9 direct qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup. Indeed, the first of the nine qualifying groups will go directly to the tournament in the USA, Canada and Mexico. What's more, a 10th representative could also qualify via the play-offs. The top 4 2nd-placed teams will play off. The winner will go through to the play-offs.
November 13 to 21, 2023: Days 1 and 2 of the qualifiers
June 3 to 11, 2024: Matchdays 3 and 4
March 17 to 25, 2025: Matchdays 5 and 6
September 1 to 9, 2025: Days 7 and 8
October 6 to 14, 2025: Matchdays 9 and 10
10 to 18 Nov 2025: CAF Zone play-off tournament for the 2026 World Cup
The different groups
Group A: Egypt, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Djibouti
Group B: Senegal, DRC, Mauritania, Togo, Sudan, South Sudan
Group C: Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Lesotho
Group D: Cameroon, Cape Verde, Angola, Libya, Eswatini, Mauritius
Group E: Morocco, Zambia, Congo, Tanzania, Niger, Eritrea
Group F: Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Gambia, Burundi, Seychelles
Group G: Algeria, Guinea, Uganda, Mozambique, Botswana, Somalia
Group H: Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Malawi, Liberia, Sao Tomé et Principe
Group I: Mali, Ghana, Madagascar, Central African Republic, Comoros, Chad