(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
The African qualifiers’ draw ceremony for the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup took place on Friday in Cairo, in Egypt’s Marriott Hotel, where the Libyan football team, who currently has a world ranking of 122, was the first team to be drawn.
An opening speech was given by Hani Abou-Reida, a member of FIFA’s executive committee.
Following the opening speech attendees were shown a clip of African teams who played at the World Cup throughout history.
A moment of silence was observed after a tribute was paid to Stephen Keshi, the Nigerian coach who passed away on June 7 at 54 years old. In 2013, Keshi was able to successfully lead his team to win the African Cup.
Mohamed Elneny, an Egyptian who plays midfielder for Arsenal, joined by Henryk Kasperczak, who used to be Tunisia’s coach, and Aliou Cisse, a former player on the Senegalese team, were the ones who picked the names of the countries out of pots.
The Libyan football team was the first team to be drawn in Group A in position 2 followed by Guinea in position 4, DR Congo in position 3 and Tunisia in position 1. Positions correspond to the schedule of the games that have been predetermined.
Ranking at 122 in the FIFA World Ranking Libya was able to qualify for the third round of the African qualifiers after winning against Rwanda, ranking at 103, in the second round.
Africa is in round three, the final round, of finding out which five African countries will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Twenty teams have successfully made it to this round and have been divided into groups of four. Each team will compete, round-robin style, against the other teams in their group until a winner is determined. The winning teams will advance to compete in the World Cup in 2018.
The results of the draw, as announced by FIFA, are as follows:
Group A: Tunisia, Libya, Congo DR, and Guinea.
Group B: Zambia, Cameroon, Algeria, and Nigeria.
Group C: Gabon, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and Morocco.
Group D: Senegal, South Africa, Burkina Faso, and Cape Verde Islands.
Group E: Ghana, Egypt, Congo, and Uganda.