African football fans face an enthralling week as the continent’s representatives to the World Cup as well as teams preparing for the 2015 AFCON qualifiers take on friendly foes.
The World Cup five – Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria – will headline these friendlies that will be played on Wednesday, or Thursday morning in Africa in the Nigeria case.
Algeria will be home to Europeans Slovenia in Blida as they prepare for Belgium, Russia and South Korea in the group stage of the World Cup which kicks off mid-June in Brazil.
In the Portuguese city of Leiria, Cameroon will tackle fellow World Cup finalists Portugal in a build up to their seventh appearance at the Mundial. The Indomitable Lions have been drawn against hostsBrazil, Mexico and Croatia.
On their part the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal will see the Cameroon game as good preparation for their upcoming clash with Ghana in the group stage of the global showpiece.
Cote d’Ivoire take on Belgium in Brussels, with the Elephants facing a tricky group comprising Greece,Colombia and Japan. The star-studded West Africans are bidding to reach the knockout stages at the third try after dropping out in the group stage of the 2006, 2010 editions.
Ghana head to Podgorica to tackle European hosts Montenegro as coach Kwesi Appiah seeks to put together a commando unit capable of surviving European heavyweights Germany and Portugal as well as the United States of America at the quadrennial international.
On their part, African champions Nigeria travel to Georgia, Atlanta, in the US for a second friendly with fellow World Cup finalists Mexico in the coach Stephen Keshi era. The last time both met, the game ended in a 2:2 draw. The Super Eagles are preparing for group games against Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina in Brazil, while Mexico will see the tie as good preparation for the upcoming confrontation with Cameroon.
A host of other African teams are taking advantage of the FIFA window to continue their team building with the 2015 AFCON qualifiers in view.
SATURDAY – MARCH 05
Algeria vs Slovenia
Portugal vs Cameroon
Belgium vs Cote d’Ivoire
Montenegro vs Ghana
Mexico vs Nigeria (2.30am Nigerian time)
Bosnia Herzegovina vs Egypt
Namibia vs Tanzania
Mozambique vs Angola
Senegal vs Mali
Burundi vs Rwanda
Zambia vs Uganda
Botswana vs South Sudan
Mauritania vs Niger
Congo vs Libya
Burkina Faso vs Comoros
Colombia vs Tunisia
Morocco vs Gabon
Luxembourg vs Cape Verde
Iran vs Guinea
South Africa vs Brazil