By Victor Okoye
Abuja, Nov. 21, 2023
Nigeria now occupy third place in Group C of the CAF qualification series for the 2026 World Cup.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is following the results of two match Day 2 Group C games played on Tuesday.
Rwanda pulled off a shock 2-0 win over South Africa, thanks to goals from Innocent Nshuti and Gilbert Mugisha at the Huye Stadium in Butare.
The win means South Africa failed to pick up the six maximum points from two games which could have seen the Bafana Bafana firmly in control of the group.
Meanwhile, Lesotho and Benin Republic played out a 0-0 draw at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa, also on Tuesday.
This means Rwanda are now top of the Group standings with four points, while South Africa are second with three points.
Nigeria, Lesotho and Zimbabwe all have two points each, while bottom-placed Benin with only one point complete the six-nations table.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers resume in June 2024 with Nigeria hosting South Africa, before travelling to an away game against Benin Republic.
With the 2026 FIFA World Cup having an increased 48 teams in the running, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), which previously had only five slots, now have nine direct slots.
There is also a provision for one additional slot for the 10th team which will play in the inter-confederation play-offs.
A total of 53 teams will be competing for the 10 slots from Africa.
The 53 teams are divided into nine groups of six teams each, with one group only having five teams.
These teams play a home and an away game with each of its group members.
At the end, the top team in each group will qualify directly for the World Cup filling up nine slots already.
Meanwhile, the four best second placed teams from all the groups will then be drawn into a mini-tournament with two semi-finals and final.
The winner will be the representative of CAF in the inter-conference play-offs.
The one qualified team from CAF will play in another mini-tournament with the one team each from CONMEBOL, AFC, OFC and two teams from CONCACAF.
The two top teams from this tournament will fill the final slots of the 2026 World Cup.
2026 World Cup Qualifier Group C table after match Day 2 fixtures:
MP W D L Pts
Rwanda 2 1 1 0 4
South Africa 2 1 0 1 3
Nigeria 2 0 2 0 2
Lesotho 2 0 2 0 2
Zimbabwe 2 0 2 0 2
Benin 2 0 1 1 1