Seven African giants in action this weekend
Seven giants of African football will be involved in away duels on Day Two of the qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations scheduled this weekend.
The seven; reigning African Champions, Egypt, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia will have to contend with opponents away from home in their bid to qualify for the two tournaments regarded as the top most in World and African football.
On Friday, the Pharaohs of Egypt will launch the heavyweights’ campaign in Djibouti as guests of the latter in a Group 12 clash.
The Pharaohs who survived a first half scare from the Simbas of DR Congo last Sunday to win 2-1.
Coach Hassan Shehata will be counting on the character of his team which was on display against the Simbas to secure a convincing result.
At the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, the Crocodiles of Lesotho welcome the Black Stars of Ghana to their first trip to South Africa in three years in a Group 5 date.
The Stars last trip to Southern Africa was almost three years ago, which they handed a 0-2 loss to the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the penultimate qualifier for the 2006 Fifa World Cup held in Germany.
Lesotho has never beaten a Ghanaian side in a competitive game and not even the absence of a substantive trainer for the Stars will be enough to break the jinx.
Four-time African Champions, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will be guests of Mauritius in a Group 1 clash while Ivory Coast faces Madagascar in Antananarivo in a repeat of the Ghana 2008 Africa Cup of Nation qualifiers in Group 7.
Group 4 leaders, the Super Eagles of Nigeria will slug it out with the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Freetown while the Atlas Lions of Morocco trek west to meet Mauritania in Group 4 and 8, respectively.
The Carthage Eagles, the only team among the seven to have suffered a loss on the opening day of the qualifiers will seek to revive their fortunes against Seychelles in Victoria in Group Nine.
The 2004 African Champions who were edged by the Stallions of Burkina Faso in the major shocker of the first day of the qualifiers via a 1-2 loss have since boosted their chances with the appointment of former Portugal coach, Humberto Coelho.
The 58-year old Portuguese is reported to have sealed a deal as the successor of Roger Lemerre 24 hours after the opening defeat.
Elsewhere, in Kinshasa , the Simbas will seek for their first point of the campaign against the free-scoring Malawi-side in the other Group Twelve clash.
The Flames routed Djibouti 8-1 on the first day but face their toughest test yet in a DR Congo side which has experienced players such as Shabani Nonda and Tresor Lomana Lua Lua in their set up.
Libya will launch their home campaign against Gabon in a Group 5 clash while Cape Verde and Tanzania sort things out in a Group 1 clash in Praia.
In Group 7, Mozambique will square off Botswana in Maputo just as South Africa battle Equatorial Guinea at Pretoria in search of their first win in Group 4.
At Addis Ababa , the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia will be at home to the Amavubi Stars of Rwanda in a clash of equals in the other Group 8 clash.
Giant killers, the Stallions of Burkina Faso look set to maintain their winning spree against Burundi in Ouagadougou in their quest to become the only team in Group 9 with a hundred percent start.
Swaziland will host Togo in a Group 11 clash in Mbabane while Zambia, the other team in the group takes the week off.
In Nairobi, the Harembee Stars of Kenya will seek to revive their hopes against the Syli Nationale of Guinea in the top liner in Group 2.
The Harembees who lost the opening game against Namibia have been boosted by the arrival of Italy-based midfielder McDonald Mariga for the crucial clash.
The AC Parma player arrived in Nairobi on Tuesday after missing the opening clash in Windhoek due to a training tour of Asia with his club joins the team alongside Petro Athletico striker Allan Wanga.
Elsewhere in Harare, the Warriors of Zimbabwe face Namibia in the other Group 2 encounter.
Group 3 will see Niger hosting Angola in Niamey while Benin sorts things out with Uganda in Cotonou.