Cape Town - The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has changed the format for the 2022 Qatar Soccer World Cup qualifying process - which will see African teams contesting a final playoff round - a system used for the Russia 2014 World Cup tournament.
For the next competition, the qualifiers will be divided into three rounds - the first two contested by all the teams with the last one featuring the last 10 standing.
THE NEW FORMAT:
28 teams (ranked 27-54) will play home-and-away over two legs
The 14 winners will advance to the second round.
40 teams (teams ranked 1-26 and 14 first-round winners) will be divided into 10 groups of four teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches
The 10 group winners will advance to the third round
The 10 teams, which will have advanced from the second round, will play home-and-away over two legs.
The five winners will qualify for the World Cup.
All 54 FIFA-affiliated football associations from CAF will enter qualification.
Libya was threatened with exclusion from the qualifiers if it failed to pay debts to their former coach Javier Clemente.
However, Libya complied after FIFA gave them a new deadline.
Sierra Leone also faced possible exclusion from the qualifiers due to the suspension of their football association - however, the suspension was lifted by the FIFA Council on 3 June 2019.
Africa has five qualifying slots
Provisional dates for the qualifying process extend from October 2019 through to November 2021.
The draw for African qualifiers is expected to be at the end of July.
The allocation of slots for each confederation was discussed by the FIFA Executive Committee on 30 May 2015 in Zürich after the FIFA Congress.
The committee decided that the same allocation as used in 2006, 2010 and 2014 would be kept for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments:
CAF (Africa): 5
AFC (Asia): 4 or 5
UEFA (Europe): 13
CONCACAF (North and Central America and the Caribbean): 3 or 4
OFC (Oceania): 0 or 1
CONMEBOL (South America): 4 or 5
Hosts: 1 (Qatar)