FIFA™ | United States of America, Canada & Mexico

2026 World Cup | Qualification CAF

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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, are listed here.

Qualification CAF for World Cup 2026 | African qualifiers

The qualifying series in the FIFA zone CAF for the 2026 FIFA World Cup will start in November, 2023. The World Football Association and the Confederation of African Football have decided on May 18, 2023 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 CAF changed the format for qualifying for the FIFA World Cup on Thursday, May 18, 2023. The reason for this is the increase in the number of World Cup 2026 starting permits; 48 in total. FIFA Zone Africa may now represent at least nine countries for the final tournament; previously there were five.

Groups & standings

GROUP ACountryPlayed / PointsGoal Difference
2Burkina Faso0-0(0-0)
4Sierra Leone0-0(0-0)
GROUP BCountryPlayed / PointsGoal Difference
2Congo DR0-0(0-0)
6South Sudan0-0(0-0)
GROUP CCountryPlayed / PointsGoal Difference
2South Africa0-0(0-0)
GROUP DCountryPlayed / PointsGoal Difference
2Cape Verde0-0(0-0)
GROUP ECountryPlayed / PointsGoal Difference
GROUP FCountryPlayed / PointsGoal Difference
1Côte d’Ivoire0-0(0-0)
4The Gambia0-0(0-0)
GROUP GCountryPlayed / PointsGoal Difference
GROUP HCountryPlayed / PointsGoal Difference
2Equatorial Guinea0-0(0-0)
6Sao Tome e Principe0-0(0-0)
GROUP ICountryPlayed / PointsGoal Difference
4Central African Republic0-0(0-0)


Matchday 1 + 2: 13-21 November, 2023
Matchday 3 + 4: 3-11 June, 2024
Matchday 5 + 6: 17-25 March, 2025
Matchday 7 + 8: 1-9 September, 2025
Matchday 9 + 10: 6-14 October, 2025
Matchday CAF play-offs: November, 2025

13-21 November 2023A
13-21 November 2023A
13-21 November 2023A
13-21 November 2023B
13-21 November 2023B
13-21 November 2023B
13-21 November 2023C
13-21 November 2023C
13-21 November 2023C
13-21 November 2023D
13-21 November 2023D
13-21 November 2023D
13-21 November 2023E
13-21 November 2023E
13-21 November 2023E
13-21 November 2023F
13-21 November 2023F
13-21 November 2023F
13-21 November 2023G
13-21 November 2023G
13-21 November 2023G
13-21 November 2023H
13-21 November 2023H
13-21 November 2023H
13-21 November 2023I
13-21 November 2023I
13-21 November 2023I

Format and dates World Cup qualifying series in FIFA Zone CAF

The CAF World Cup qualifiers from 2023 to 2025 will, for the first time, start with nine groups of six teams. Each country plays against each of the other countries in its group twice: once away and once at home. In other words, the qualification in the FIFA Zone CAF starts with a round robin format. In this case, with ten group matches on the program for each country. All nine group winners qualify directly for the World Cup.

CAF continental play-offs
Also, one more 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. The four best numbers two from the nine groups will continue the CAF qualifying series with a continental play-off. The four participants in these CAF play-offs will, November 2025, play a mini tournament including semi-finals and a final. In those last CAF qualifiers they compete for one ticket for the aforementioned intercontinental play-offs.

CAF qualification for World Cup football

If the relevant representative from Africa is successful in the intercontinental play-offs, 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.

From the round-robin CAF qualifying round consisting of nine groups, all nine group winners will directly qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. In addition, one country from Africa may advance to the cross-continental play-offs.

The format, schedule and dates of the qualification for the FIFA World Cup in this FIFA Zone have been formalised in May, 2023.

Extra Round | Intercontinental Playoff | Last possible World Cup ticket for CAF

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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.

AFCMinimum 8, maximum 9 countries (possible +1 via intercontinental play-offs)
CONCACAFMinimum 6, maximum 8 countries (possible +2 via intercontinental play-offs)
Host countries USA, Canada and Mexico are already automatically qualified
CONMEBOLMinimum 6, maximum 7 countries (possible +1 via intercontinental play-offs)
OFCMinimum 1, maximum 2 countries (possible +1 via intercontinental play-offs)
CAFMinimum 9, maximum 10 countries (possible +1 via intercontinental play-offs)
UEFA16 countries

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).

  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cabo Verde
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Congo DR
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • The Gambia
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

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 could depend on their position in the FIFA Ranking. For example, in some FIFA qualifying zones the lowest ranked countries will have to play an extra qualifying round. However, in Africa all 54 FIFA nations are assured of participation in the first, main qualifying round. Still, the draw determines the classification of the CAF groups and thus who will play against whom. The date of the official draw of the Preliminaries in the CAF Zone was July 13, 2023. That was the evening before the 45th CAF Ordinary General Assembly. The location was Cotonou, Benin. 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.

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