Amavubi qualify without kicking a ball
Morocco 4-1 Mauritania
Morocco needed a win to make sure of their place in the next round, and they smashed Mauritania 4-1 to go ahead of Rwanda in Group 8. But Rwanda are certain to go through as one of the best runners-up.
Even without kicking a ball on a busy weekend of 2010 World/Africa qualifiers across the world, Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars are all but through to the final qualifying round, which apparently is also the toughest.
Goals from captain Youssef Safri (penalty) after 35 minutes and quick double from Youssef Hadji (56, 60) and substitute Merouane Zemmama, who scored just a minute after replacing Hadji, facilitate the Atlas Lions to leapfrog Amavubi from top spot, level on points (nine) but with a superior goal difference of six to four.
Ahmed Teguedi scored Mauritania’s consolation in the 66th minute, which left the tiny West African country has finished their campaign with a point from six matches including that two against Ethiopia.
Fifa rules leave Amavubi free from the math. After Eritrea’s early withdrawal and Ethiopia’s exclusion, Fifa had to re-adjust the rules that will define the eight best second-placed teams in the second round of the African Zone’s preliminary qualifying campaign.
Taking a closer look at the situation, Eritrea’s withdrawal meant that Group 11 consisted of just three teams, compared to the four national sides making up the other groups.
The situation became the same in Group 8 after the exclusion of Ethiopia, which provided the world’s football governing body with a task to find the fairest way of defining the eight best second-placed sides, which will join the 12 group winners in the third qualifying round.
And the following solution was settled upon; once all the matches in the four-team groups have been played, the results between the second- and fourth-placed sides will not be considered when comparing the second-placed teams’ respective records.
Basing on the fact that Rwanda’s group now has three teams instead of four after Ethiopia’s exclusion, which came after five matches had been played, the above rule doesn’t impinge on groups eight and eleven.
And if that’s the case, Rwanda and Togo, who are second in group 11 behind Zambia, qualify in the best second-placed category even before the dreaded mathematics comes into play.
Already through in addition to Rwanda and Togo are Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Mali, Zambia, Egypt, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Sudan, Kenya, Benin, Algeria, Ghana and Gabon.
Unclear situation by press time
The state of affairs in groups two, three, seven and 12 was not clear as the last second round qualifying matches were yet to be played by press time.
Group two leaders Kenya (10 points by press time) were scheduled to meet second placed Guinea, who were two points behind in Conakry and in group three, Angola were at home against Niger as was Uganda against group three leaders Benin who had already qualified going into the last game. Both Angola and Uganda were tied on seven points.