Nigeria has been placed in Pot 2 by virtue of what CAF described as a special edition of the FIFA World Ranking for African teams decided by the Emergency Bureau for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers of 22 June 2016.
The prospect of facing some bogey teams and arguably Africa’s bests should be a cause for concern for the three-time champions who are yet without a coach and fuzzy idea of who the first team regulars are. The country missed out on consecutive tickets of the Afcon, a stage that could have offered it a good insight into its true strength and a defined team just in time before the qualification games commences.
Meanwhile the seeded teams are already decided on by the ranking and the Regional governing body, yet the complexion of the teams jostling for the sole tickets in the five groups is as exciting as is scary for those unprepared for the battle.
20 African teams await the draw for the third round of the African Zone qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, which will take place in Cairo, Egypt on 24 June.
CAF explained that:
The seeded teams and the four pots for the draw have been defined on the basis of a special edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking for African teams dated 7 June, as per the decision of the Emergency Bureau for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers of 22 June 2016.
The ranking has determined the four pots and the five seeds as follows:
Pot 1: Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia
Pot 2: Cape Verde Islands, Egypt, Congo DR, Nigeria, Mali
Pot 3: Cameroon, Morocco, Guinea, South Africa, Congo
Pot 4: Uganda, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Gabon, Libya
The teams in Pot 4 will be drawn first. The team drawn first from Pot 4 will be placed in Group A, and its exact position in the group will be determined by a ball drawn from a second pot that will contain four balls with the position numbers 1-4.
The team drawn second from Pot 4 will be placed in Group B, and its position in the group will also be determined by a ball drawn from the second pot.
The team drawn third will be placed in Group C, and its position drawn from the second pot. The team drawn fourth will be placed in Group D, and its position drawn from the second pot.
Finally, the team in the last ball in Pot 4 will be placed in Group E, and its position will again be drawn from the second pot.
This very same procedure will then be applied for Pot 3, then for Pot 2, and finally for Pot 1. When the last ball containing the name of the final team in Pot 1 has been drawn and its position in Group E has been confirmed by drawing the last remaining ball in the second pot, the draw will be concluded.