In a significant development for African football, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee met in Algiers on May 18, 2023, to announce a major change in the qualifying format for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The decisions made during the meeting will have far-reaching implications for the continent’s teams vying for a spot in the prestigious tournament.
After deliberation, it was decided that the traditional method of World Cup qualification would undergo a significant transformation.
The committee members agreed to introduce a new system that would see the formation of 9 groups, with each group consisting of 6 teams. This change aimed to enhance competition and increase the chances of African teams securing a place in the global showcase.
Under the revised format, the team finishing at the top of each group would secure direct qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. This would provide a clear pathway for the most dominant sides in each group to earn their spot on the world stage.
However, the battle for World Cup berths would not be limited to just the group winners.
In an exciting twist, the committee also announced that the four best second-place teams across the groups would have the opportunity to vie for a coveted playoff spot.
This playoff would determine the representative from Africa who would then face off against a team from the CONCACAF region.