CAF Qualification, 1st Round
26 countries entered the CAF qualification for Italia’90:
Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
This was a decline from the 1986 World Cup, where 29 teams had participated in the CAF qualification. The six teams that had since disappeared, were Benin, Gambia, Mauritius, Niger, Sierra Leone and Tanzania (all six had that time been eliminated in the preliminaries, and Lesotho, Niger and Togo had even withdrawn before their first match).
Newcomers and rejects
Filling the gap, Gabon, Lesotho and Rwanda entered the 1990 CAF qualification. Of these, Lesotho had participated in two previous World Cup qualifications (1974 and 1982), Gabon had entered a couple of times only to withdraw before the first match, while Rwanda never had entered a World Cup qualification in their history.
Before the draw (which would take place on December 12th 1987 in Zürich), two of the initial 26 countries were however refused to participate by FIFA, due to their outstanding debts: Madagascar and Mozambique. The CAF pool was therefore reduced to 24 teams before the draw.
Schedule for the 1st round
Ahead of the draw, it had been decided that 16 countries would play in a preliminary knock-out round (the 1st Round), with the 8 winners progressing to the 2nd Round. In the 2nd round, they would be joined by the 8 seeded teams in the AFC zone: Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Zaire. These teams were seeded due to having qualified for the 1988 edition of the African Cup of Nations in Morocco.
The 16 unseeded countries were divided in two groups, apparently based on geography. Group 1 would consist of teams from East and South Africa, while Group 2 would contain the countries of the North and West. The 2nd Round would be a round-robin tournament of four groups, where each group would have two seeded teams and two teams from the 1st Round (one from Group 1 and 2 each).
The draw for the 1st Round gave the following fixtures:
Withdrawals: Lesotho, Rwanda and Togo
Later, three countries withdrew from the qualification, leaving the competition before their first scheduled game: Lesotho, Rwanda and Togo.
The withdrawal was perhaps as expected from Lesotho, who had not participated in any qualification for a major tournament since the early 1980s, either withdrawn or not entered. Togo had also withdrawn from the 1986 World Cup qualification, although they did participate in the latest version of the ACN qualification, taking place in 1987. As for Rwanda, they withdrew from the first and so far only World Cup qualification they had ever entered.
The countries that had drawn against these three were thus given byes into the 2nd Round: Gabon, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
1st leg: Angola 0-0 Sudan
7 August 1988, Estádio da Cidadela (Luanda)
Goalless in Luanda, but there are chances for both teams. Sudan play with plenty of attacking power in a narrow 4-3-3, and cause trouble for Angola whenever they manage to break down their midfield block. Angola without Campos and Vata look a bit unimaginative and predictable.
2nd leg: Sudan 1-2 Angola
11 November 1988, Al Merreikh Stadium (Omdurman)
Sudan take the early lead through Osama Idris, who didn’t play the 1st leg, but Angola level in the 79th minute. Leading on away goals, Angola add to their score a few minutes before the end to wrap it up. Early exit for Sudan, who did give Angola fight for a place in the 2nd Round.
Angola qualify for the 2nd Round, winning 2-1 on aggregate.
1st leg: Uganda 1-0 Malawi
16 July 1988, National Stadium (Kampala)
2nd leg: Malawi 3-1 Uganda
30 July 1988, Civo Stadium (Lilongwe)
Malawi qualify for the 2nd Round, winning 3-2 on aggregate.
Zambia w/o Rwanda
Zambia qualify for the 2nd Round as Rwanda withdrew.
Zimbabwe w/o Lesotho
Zimbabwe qualify for the 2nd Round as Lesotho withdrew.
Italia1990.com are very interested in getting in contact with people who have in-depth knowledge or source material from the CAF qualifiers that can supplement our analyses and reports. Please contact us through our form if you have anything you think might be of interest.