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Stars face Mauritius in 2018 WC first round

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Michael Olunga shields the ball from Ethiopia's Salhadin Bargecho (left) during their CHAN clash at Nyayo. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Michael Olunga shields the ball from Ethiopia’s Salhadin Bargecho (left) during their CHAN clash at Nyayo. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, July 25- Kenya will open their 2018 World Cup qualification bid with a two-legged clash against Mauritius following the draw conducted in Russia on Saturday.

Harambee Stars who are ranked among the bottom 26 teams in Africa start their campaign away before welcoming the Mauritians at home to vie for passage to the second round.

Here, the 13 winners on aggregate from the first round and the 27 other countries compete in two-leg ties in the second in November with winners progressing to a group stages where five nations will represent Africa at the 2018 finals in Russia.

The winner of the Stars-Mauritius clash will take on rising Cape Verde over two-legs for a ticket to the pool stages of the qualifiers where group winners will play at the Russia World Cup.

The third and final round will run from October 2016 to November 2017 when Africa’s representatives to the Mundial will be known.

The 20 winners from the second round knockout matches will be drawn in five groups of four (to be made at the end of the 2nd round).

Stars hammered Seychelles 7-0 on aggregate in the first round of the 2014 Brazil World Cup before being drawn against Nigeria, Malawi and Namibia in Group F of the second round where they crashed out of the running by finishing third on 6 points.

The ten winners from that phase faced-off in a two-legged knockout final round where Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria played at the Brazil finals.

AFRICA QUALIFYING DRAW

1st round (October 2015)

The 26 lowest-ranked African sides in FIFA rankings play each other in two-legged ties:

Somalia v Niger

South Sudan v Mauritania

Gambia v Namibia

Sao Tome and Principe v Ethiopia

Chad v Sierra Leone

Comoros v Lesotho

Djibouti v Swaziland

Eritrea v Botswana

Seychelles v Burundi

Liberia v Guinea Bissau

Central African Republic v Madagascar

Mauritius v Kenya

Tanzania v Malawi

2nd round (November 2015)

The 13 winners from the first round and the 27 other countries compete in two-leg ties with winners progressing to a group stage:

Somalia or Niger v Cameroon

South Sudan or Mauritania v Tunisia

Gambia or Namibia v Guinea

Sao Tome and Principe or Ethiopia v  Congo

Chad or Sierra Leone v Egypt

Comoros or Lesotho v Ghana

Djibouti or Swaziland v Nigeria

Eritrea or Botswana v Mali

Seychelles or Burundi v Democratic Republic of Congo

Liberia or Guinea Bissau v Ivory Coast

Central Africa Republic or Madagascar v Senegal

Mauritius or Kenya v Cape Verde

Tanzania or Malawi v Algeria

Sudan v Zambia

Libya v Rwanda

Morocco v Equatorial Guinee

Mozambique v Gabon

Benin v Burkina Faso

Togo v Uganda

Angola v South Africa

3rd round (October 2016 to November 2017)

The 20 winners from the second round knockout matches will be drawn in five groups of four (to be made at the end of the 2nd round). The group winners will qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

-Additional material from AFP

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