The Confederation of African Football have unveiled a three-stage qualifying format for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The series will begin with a preliminary round involving the 24 lowest-ranked teams on the latest edition of the Fifa rankings, who will play a knockout tie on home and away basis.
The 12 qualifiers from this preliminary round will join the 28 teams on a bye for the second phase, which will be divided into ten groups of four each.
The top team from each of the 10 groups will qualify for the final play-off, and will play on home and away basis to determine the five slots.
In all, 154 matches will played between November 2011 and November 2013.
Fifty-two out of the 53 National Associations affiliated to CAF will take part in the qualifying series to determine the continent’s five slots for the next World Cup.
Dates Fixtures Observations Match Day
Stage 1: First Round* 24 bottom FIFA ranked teams*
11 Nov 2011 1stLeg Knock out FIFA D –MD1
15 Nov 2011 2ndLeg Knock out FIFA D –MD2
* 24 bottom FIFA ranked teams based on latest available Coca-Cola rankings
Stage 2: Group phase –10 groups of 4 teams**12 teams from Stage 1 + 28 teams
01-05 June 2012 Round 1 FIFA DD –MD3
08-12 June 2012 Round 2 FIFA DD –MD4
22-26 March 2013 Round 3 FIFA DD –MD5
07-11 June 2013 Round 4 FIFA DD –MD6
14-18 June 2013 Round 5 FIFA DD –MD7
06-10 Sept. 2013 Round 6 FIFA DD –MD8
** Top team of each group to qualify for final play off phase: 10 teams
Stage 3: Play-off phase –5 Home & Away10 teams –10 matches
11-15 Oct 2013 1stLeg Knock Out FIFA DD –MD9
15-19 Nov 2013 2ndLeg Knock Out FIFA DD –MD10