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Black Stars To Play Eight World Cup Qualifiers   
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The Black Stars face shorter but intense qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup as they will play a total of eight matches to reach the tournament in Brazil.

This is far less than the 12 matches Ghana played on their way to qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, or the 10 games the team had to prosecute in the qualifying rounds for both the 2006 World cup tournament.

But eight is the number of games Goran Stevanovic’s side will have to prosecute if they hope to earn a spot to the 2014 tournament in Brazil, beginning with their first game of the qualifiers in June next year against a yet to be known opponent.

These include six games in the round-robin stage as well as a two-legged knockout round tie which will determine who ends up qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

In all, 52 African countries have signified their intention to take part in the qualifying rounds for the 2014 World Cup and the top 28 teams in the FIFA rankings have been exempted from taking part in the preliminary phase of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers which gets underway in November 2011.

This preliminary round will involve the bottom 24 African teams in the latest FIFA rankings which will be released today and the likes of Ghana Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt and Cote d’Ivoire, regardless of any fresh changes in the rankings, look certain to be exempted from this phase of the qualifiers.

Lowly 24

As things stand, the 24 lowest-ranked sides on the African continent who would enter the first stage of qualification are Central African Republic, DR Congo,

Sierra Leone, Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau and Madagascar. Others are Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Burundi, Swaziland, Liberia, Lesotho, Mauritania, Eritrea, Somalia, Comoros, Mauritius, Djibouti and Seychelles.

And according to CAF, the continent’s 24 least-ranked sides will be drawn in a two-legged tie that will be played on November 11 and 15 this year, with the 12 successful teams from these matches joining the remaining 28 teams in the main draw.

The main draw will see these 40 teams drawn into 10 groups of four sides apiece, with matches played in a round-robin, home and away format. These matches will take place from June 2012 to September 2013.

The winners of the 10 groups will then advance to the final qualifying round, where they will be drawn in a two-legged tie that will determine Africa’s five representatives for the 2014 World Cup.

These ties will be played in October and November 2013, and will mark the end of a qualifying process involving 52 African teams and 154 matches.
Source: ghanasoccernet

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