By Kayode Tijani, Abuja
The draw ceremony for Africaâ€™s final round of qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup competition will hold at CAF Headquarters, 6th October City, Egypt on Friday evening.
Following the decision of the FIFA Emergency Bureau for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Wednesdayevening, which stated that â€œprotests from several associationsâ€ had necessitated a review of the entire situation, related to the seeding, the ranking announced by FIFA on 7th June 2016 will be adhered to.
This means that the pots remain:
Pot 1: Algeria, Cote dâ€™Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia
Pot 2: Cape Verde Islands, Egypt, DR Congo, Nigeria, Mali
Pot 3: Cameroon, Morocco, Guinea, South Africa, Guinea
Pot 4: Uganda, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Gabon, Libya
After Egypt protested its placement in Pot 2, Nigeria also fired a protest, stating categorically why she deserved to be in Pot 1 ahead of Egypt and Tunisia.
In the FIFA letter of Wednesday, 22nd June, signed by Deputy General Secretary Marco Villiger, the FIFA Emergency Bureau stated, inter alia:
The FIFA letter dated 5th April 2016 did not specify that the ranking would be calculated on 8th, 9th, or 10th June 2016 but that it would be released around those dates.
The special ranking that was released on 8th June 2016, with the date 7th June 2016, fully served its essential and unique purpose of integrating all the official CAF AFCON qualifying matches that were played up to 5th June 2016 ahead of the draw.
This ranking â€“ 7th June 2016 â€“ remains thus valid for the 3rd qualifying round draw. Therefore, the FIFA letter dated 15th June 2016 suggesting a ranking on 21st June 2016 shall be deemed null and void.
Please take note that this decision is final and binding and not subject to appeal, as per article 3, paragraph 4 of the Regulations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.