In the CAF FIFA Zone – the continental union for Africa – 54 countries will participate in the World Cup qualifiers. Nine to ten of these countries will qualify for the final round: the 2026 World Cup in North America with a total of 48 national teams participating. The groups and the schedule of the qualification series of the CAF countries for the World Cup, with all matches, dates, and times, will be listed here as soon as they are known. See also: Draw qualification World Cup 2026.
Qualification CAF for World Cup 2026 | African qualifiers
The qualifying series in the FIFA zone CAF for the 2026 FIFA World Cup may start in 2023. The World Football Association and the Confederation of African Football are still deciding on the dates and schedule. In the qualifying zone of Africa, 54 countries compete for nine to ten tickets for the World Cup in North America. Nine countries from the CAF qualifying rounds qualify directly for the 2026 World Cup. In addition, one country will gain access to the intercontinental play-offs via the African qualifying rounds. From this, the tenth CAF country can reach the World Cup finals.
The exact format and exact dates of the World Cup qualifying series in Zone CAF are still subject to final decisions. It is known that nine countries from this football continent earn a direct World Cup ticket through several qualifying rounds. That will probably be three rounds. It is also known that another country that is a member of the ‘Confédération Africaine de Football’ continues to have a chance of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup in North America. That country qualifies for the aforementioned intercontinental play-offs via the CAF qualifying process.
See additional information on the format of those FIFA playoffs further down this page. If the relevant representative from Africa is successful in this, the total number of African countries that qualify for the FIFA World Cup football will be ten. Whether it eventually becomes nine or ten, it is considerably more than the number of five CAF countries that won an entry ticket for the previous World Cup (in 2022). This has everything to do with the larger number of upcoming World Cup starting tickets: 48.
CAF qualification for World Cup football
The format, schedule and dates of the qualification for the FIFA World Cup are not yet formally known in this FIFA Zone.
From the regular CAF qualifying rounds, nine countries will directly qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. In addition, one country from Africa may advance to the cross-continental play-offs.
Extra Round | Intercontinental Playoff | Last possible World Cup ticket for CAF
One country from the FIFA Zone CAF, after the regular qualification phase, will have a second chance in the intercontinental World Cup 2026 qualification play-offs. Six countries are participating in that mini-tournament. They come from five of the six FIFA confederations: AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa), OFC (Oceania), CONMEBOL (South America) and CONCACAF (North America, Central America, and the Caribbean). The European confederation, UEFA, will have no representative at these intercontinental 2026 World Cup play-offs, while CONCACAF will be allowed to have two countries as the upcoming World Cup host.
The six countries compete for the last two (of 48) tickets that entitle them to participate in the World Cup in the three North American countries USA, Canada and Mexico. Including these cross-continental play-offs, the total number of World Cup participants from the FIFA Zone CAF could reach ten.
Format cross-intercontinental playoffs
The format of the six-nation inter-confederation play-offs is as follows. The four (of the six) qualified countries that are currently lowest in the FIFA Ranking are linked by a draw. The two winners then play against the two countries that (of those six) are highest in the FIFA Ranking. The two winners of those last two games will eventually get the last World Cup tickets.
When: November 2025 (subject to change).
Countries qualifying for the 2026 World Cup from CAF, CONCACAF, AFC, OFC, CONMEBOL and UEFA
From the FIFA CAF Zone, a minimum of nine, a maximum of ten countries qualify for the World Cup. The total number of countries during the final round in 2026 is 48. This number is made up as follows.
|FIFA ZONE||QUALIFY FOR WORLD CUP FOOTBALL 2026 | AVAILABLE SLOTS FIFA CONTINENTS|
|AFC||Minimum 8, maximum 9 countries (possible +1 via intercontinental play-offs)|
|CONCACAF||Minimum 6, maximum 8 countries (possible +2 via intercontinental play-offs)|
Host countries USA, Canada and Mexico are already automatically qualified
|CONMEBOL||Minimum 6, maximum 7 countries (possible +1 via intercontinental play-offs)|
|OFC||Minimum 1, maximum 2 countries (possible +1 via intercontinental play-offs)|
|CAF||Minimum 9, maximum 10 countries (possible +1 via intercontinental play-offs)|
These are the 54 CAF countries participating in the qualification for the 2026 World Cup
The following countries are from the FIFA Zone of the Confederation of African Football. Five countries from this continent managed to qualify for the last football world championship, in 2022 in Qatar. Namely Cameroon (which ended in the first round), Ghana (first round), Morocco (semi-finals), Senegal (eighth finals) and Tunisia (first round).
- Burkina Faso
- Cabo Verde
- Central African Republic
- Congo DR
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- The Gambia
See also: the positions of the CAF teams in the FIFA Ranking.
When is the draw for qualification for the 2026 World Cup in the CAF zone?
Which countries play against each other in the World Cup qualification on the football continent of Africa? The exact classification also depends on their position in the FIFA Ranking. For example, the lowest ranked countries will probably have to play an extra qualifying round. Furthermore, a draw determines the classification of the CAF groups and thus who will play against whom. The date of the draw of the Preliminaries in the CAF Zone is still unknown. See also: Preliminary Draw World Cup Football.
The previous qualification – for the 2022 World Cup – in the Zone CAF
The Covid-19 pandemic also affected the course of qualifying in the FIFA Zone CAF ahead of the previous World Cup in 2022 in Qatar. Despite several delays, the African continent completed the qualifying series as follows. This qualification consisted of three rounds: simply the first round, the second round and the third round.
In Round 1, just over half of the total number of 54 CAF countries took part. These were the 28 African countries that were lower on the FIFA Ranking than the other 26 CAF teams. Through 14 head-to-head knockout matches – home and away – an equal number of winners advanced to Round 2.
In that qualifying phase – Round 2 – the other 26 countries also started. These forty countries in total were divided into ten groups of four. They completed the schedule in accordance with the double round-robin system: home and away against each of the other three group opponents. The ten group winners advanced to Round 3.
In that final phase of the World Cup qualification – Round 3 – a draw lead to five decisive head-to-head matches, home and away. The five winners qualified for the World Cup in Qatar: Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia. Cameroon, Ghana and Tunisia finished the 2022 World Cup in the group stage. Senegal reached the round of 16, while Morocco made CAF and world history. Morocco was the first African country to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. The surprise of the tournament eventually finished fourth, behind number three Croatia.
The information on this page is based on the official information from the Confederation of African Football (CAF), current and subject to possible changes.