The New Times (Kigali)
15 September 2008
Posted to the web 15 September 2008
RWANDA'S qualification hopes of reaching the third and final round of the 2010 World/Africa Cup are bright despite Ethiopia's ban from Group eight qualifiers.
Rwanda now leads Group Eight with nine points after the world governing body; Fifa wiped away points gained on Ethiopia in the first leg.
FIFA's top ranked East African country at 85 took leadership of Group Eight of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers thanks to a 1-0 away win over Mauritania last week.
Morocco stands on second position of the group with six points but must face minnows Mauritania on October to decide the group's qualification fate.
However, Rwanda has maximum chances of reaching the final round even if Morocco wins their home fixture against Mauritania.
If Morocco beat Mauritania in the final group game on October 12, they will go through as group winners thanks to a better goal difference or a superior number of goals scored.
Rwanda would then go to the next round and qualify as a second-placed team.
According to the new FIFA 2010 qualification rules which specify that in order to apply fairness to the selection of the best eight qualifiers, the runners-up in each of the groups would have the results against the fourth best team subtracted.
Considering that Rwanda finished as runners-up in Group 8, which has three teams, their statistics will be unchanged. But in the other groups with four teams, the points and goal difference that the second-placed teams had against the fourth-placed team will be erased.
These new totals will then be used to determine the eight best runners-up, using points gained and then goal difference, and then goals scored.
A play-off match will take place in later in November should there be a tie for the eighth best runners-up spot.
When you consider all the groups, second-placed teams who are in position to reach the next round with their points' against fourth-placed team deducted and being able to win their next qualifiers respectively are less in number.
The 12 group winners and eight second-placed teams will qualify for the third group stage and will be drawn in five groups of four teams.
The group winners will qualify for the 2010 World Cup and with South Africa unable to top the group 4, group winners will earn an automatic qualification to the 2010 World Cup while the first three teams in each group will qualify for the 2010 Angola Nations Cup.
If Angola reaches the second group stage, the three teams drawn in their group will automatically qualify for the Nations Cup.
Team P W D L Pts
Rwanda 4 3 0 1 9
Morocco 3 2 0 1 6
Mauritania 3 0 0 3 0
N.B The table excludes the matches that the three played against Ethiopia.
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