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2026 World Cup qualifiers: Eagles know group opponents July 12

Super eagles

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will know their group opponents for the 2026 World Cup when the draw holds on July 12, Saturday PUNCH reports.

The draw will be made in Cotonou, Benin Republic on the eve of the 45th CAF Ordinary General Assembly, the body said in a statement made available to our correspondent on Friday.

According to the statement, Africa will employ a single-stage of World Cup qualification format for the next finals to be hosted by USA, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

The decision ends the three qualification rounds format that has been used in the past which takes almost two years to complete.

The new format, which was approved by the Executive Committee of CAF during its meeting in Algiers on Thursday, will see the 54 Member Associations divided into nine groups of six teams each.

Games will be played on a round-robin basis and the top team from each group after Match Day 10, will earn an automatic qualification to the 2026 World Cup.

Consequently, the best four second-placed teams from across all nine groups will enter into a Continental play-off to determine one winner who will then proceed to a second and final play-off which will include six teams from the other different confederations.

The top two of these six will qualify for the World Cup to make up the 48 teams.

The qualifiers are scheduled to start in November this year, with matchdays one and two scheduled to hold between November 13-21, while matchdays three and four are billed for June 2024.

The last matchday fixtures are slated for October 6 to 14.

However, the Continental play-off will be staged between November 10-18, 2025 at a venue to be communicated later for a possible 10th African slot.

At the World Cup in Qatar last year, Africa was represented by Morocco, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana and Tunisia with Nigeria missing out on the tourney for the first time

since 2010.

The playoff tournament will involve six teams to decide the final two World Cup qualifying teams.

Morocco finished fourth and made history by becoming the first-ever African country to reach the semi-finals.

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