BY HENRY MHARA
ZIMBABWE will today know the identity of their opponents for their Fifa World Cup 2022 qualification campaign when Caf conducts the draw for the second round of the continent’s qualifiers taking place at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, this evening.
The draw is slated for 7pm Zimbabwe time.
Zimbabwe qualified for this round after beating Somalia 3-2 on aggregate in the first round of the qualifiers.
The first round consisted of 14 home-and-away ties, featuring the 28 lowest ranked teams in Africa.
Zimbabwe and the other 13 winners of the first round will join the 26 top-seeded African teams with the 40 teams forming ten groups of four (based on the December 2019 edition of the Fifa/Coca-Cola world ranking).
The 10 group winners then advance to third round where they will be paired up for knockout matches, with the five winners securing a berth at Qatar 2022.
In the draw, Zimbabwe are in pot 3, due to their low ranking on the Fifa rankings and with each group consisting of one team from each pot, the Warriors will face one of the continent’s giants who line up in pot 1.
Among them are the five nations that represented Africa at the last Fifa World Cup: Tunisia, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt and Senegal.
Zimbabwe has the potential to be placed in the same group with neighbours and old foes South Africa who are in pot 2.
The second round of Africa’s qualifiers will kick off in March this year and will conclude in October next year with the third and final round scheduled for the following month.
The World Cup 2022 will be played in Qatar between November 21 and December 18, 2022.
Zimbabwe are currently looking for a substantive coach for the Warriors to take charge of the campaign. The coach is expected to be announced before the end of January, with the selection process almost done.
Zifa has said they prefer an expatriate to take charge of the team.
The full set of pots is as follows:
Pot 1: Algeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali, Congo DR.
Pot 2: Burkina Faso, South Africa, Guinea, Uganda, Cabo Verde, Gabon, Benin, Zambia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire.
Pot 3: Madagascar, Mauritania, Libya, Mozambique, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Niger, Central African Republic, Namibia, Guinea-Bissau.
Pot 4: Malawi, Angola, Togo, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Djibouti.