By Nurudeen Obalola:
Nigeria have been drawn in Pot 2 of the final round of African qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, the Confederation of African Football announced on Thursday.
The draw for the qualifiers will be held on 24 June.
The Super Eagles are in the second tier of pots along with Cape Verde, Congo DR, Egypt and Mali.
Teams in the same pot will be seperated at the main draw, meaning Nigeria will avoid Egypt who stopped the Eagles from qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
The top pot, Pot 1, contains Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia.
Nigeria will definitely meet one of the Pot 1 teams in the final qualifying series, plus a team each from Pot 3 and Pot 4.
Pot 3, the slightly less intimidating pot, contains Cameroon, Morocco, Guinea, who eliminated Nigeria in the 2012 AFCON qualifiers, South Africa and Congo.
Pot 4 supposedly contains the weakest teams with the likes of Uganda, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Gabon and Libya.
The 20 teams will be divided into five groups of four each, the teams playing on a home and away basis. Only the top team from each group will qualify for Russia 2018.
Nigeria could conceivably draw Algeria, Cameroun and 2013 AFCON finalists Burkina Faso in probably the worst scenario.
Another scenario could see Nigeria draw Cote d’Ivoire from Pot 1, Morocco from Pot 3 and 2012 AFCON champions Zambia from Pot 4.
The best scenario for Nigeria would probably be Senegal from Pot 1, South Africa from Pot 3, Uganda or Gabon from Pot 4.
Pot 1: Algeria, Cöte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia
Pot 2: Cape Verde, Egypt, Congo DR, Nigeria and Mali
Pot 3: Cameroon, Morocco, Guinea, South Africa and Congo
Pot 4: Uganda, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Gabon and Libya