Caf needs to adopt South American system.
In a few days, the Fifa World Cup qualifying matches will end and a complete line-up for Russia 2018 will be known.
Africa will have five teams at the 2018 tournament and will maintain the same number at the 2022 edition before the proposed increase of teams to nine at the 2026 edition.
With Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal having already qualified for next year’s finals there will be no debut qualification from Africa.
Yet it is illustrative that whilst the qualifying competition was ending at least seven months from the showpiece event, more than half the African countries had already been knocked out even before the group stage matches took place.
Kenya was predictably among those nations that exited the qualifying tournament three years before group stages. Cape Verde knocked out Kenya on November 17, 2015 after shambolic travel arrangements cost the team holding a slender home lead to lose 2-1 on goal aggregate.
For a tournament that prides itself as the world’s greatest event with the widest entries of any sport, the World Cup is nonetheless turning out to be an exclusive club of the big boys of African football with the smaller nations not even getting closer to fully participating in the qualifiers.
This seems to be down to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) itself, who determine the qualifying format adopted for each edition of the World Cup tournament.
In its decision reached at its Executive Committee meeting on January 14, 2015, CAF decided to have three rounds of qualifying whose import was to whittle down the 54 entrants to the tournament into 20 teams that would play in five groups of four teams with group winners qualifying.
An undesirable situation was created that left a massive 34 teams excluded 940 days before the finals.
This exclusion of the majority means the players in those countries lost out on many opportunities to have more caps and more goals for their countries in competitive fixtures.
Michael Olunga, who has scored two goals for Kenya in the World Cup qualifiers, only needs two more goals to be the third in all-time scoring for the national team in the qualifiers.
Such players would appreciate that the periods between the end of one qualifying period to another can stretch to almost four years and with it a shift in form and other preponderables and vicissitudes of life such as…