It’s David, Goliath affairs all over

BY: Rosalind K. Amoh
Road to 2018 World Cup  African qualifiers fixtures

The second round of the African qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will serve many ‘David and Goliath’ affairs as the continent's supposed minnows have set up dates with the perceived big boys or giants.

Already, the qualifiers have claimed 13 teams who failed to make it past the first round, and the second round has also left others strategising on how to survive in this campaign.

In biblical times, little David conquered giant Goliath, but in football terms, that is usually not the case and most of the 'Davids' are already having the shivers as they come up against the Goliaths.

 

This weekend, there is Ghana v Comoros Island, Chad-Egypt, Liberia v Cote d'Ivoire, Swaziland v Nigeria as well as Botswana v Mali lined up as the heavyweights seek to make good strides in the qualifiers, while the minnows also push for upsets.

On paper, the heavyweights look the favourites, but in football, anything can happen and the teams are leaving nothing to chance.

Though it looks a relative task for African champions, Cote d'Ivoire against Liberia, the tall list of injuries in their camp makes it a dicey trip for them as they head for Monronvia. Already, captain Yaya Toure has turned down the invitation to play for Elephants and so have other key players who won the African Cup in Equatorial Guinea last February, but with the pletora of talent, the

For Nigeria's new coach, Sunday Oliseh, qualifying for Russia 2018 remains his number one priority and will therefore not belittle any opponent.

As he told the Nigeria media, "I want to get my country to the group stage of Russia 2018. It's an ambition that has to be achieved and so if we don't respect our opponents, we will fall short of it. Swaziland may look novices, but they are a difficult team and it will not be easy playing and we are not goig to take chances."

While the Davids and Goliaths slug it all around, one match that will be of interest in sothern African will be the Angola versus South Africa encounter in Luanda.

The Angolans have already caused the South Africans a heartache by eliminating them from the 2016 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) and it remains to be seen how much more pain they can cause their neighbours, who seem to have so much prospect. yet have been disappointing in performance.