Expansion of World Cup slots gives Africa opportunity to compete – Nigerian football legend Jay Jay Okocha

Published on: 14 July 2023

Ex-Nigeria superstar Jay-Jay Okocha believes the expansion of World Cup slots will help Africa to make a meaningful impact at the mundial.

Africa representation at the biggest soccer mundial has been increased from five to nine ahead of the 2026 World Cup to be staged in Mexico, Canada and the USA following FIFA decision to expands the number of participating countries to 48.

The draw for the 2026 FIFA world Cup qualifiers was held on Thursday during the 45th CAF General Assembly in Ivory Coast.

From the nine groups of six, the winner of each group will gain automatic qualification to the World Cup while the four best runners-up from the groups will play a mini-play-off tournament.

The winner of the tournament will proceed to play in an intercontinental play-off and could become the 10th African team to qualify for the competition.

“It’s a great news for our continent that we have potentially nine or ten nations representing us at the World Cup because it gives us the opportunity to compete. Now, Morocco has renewed our hope that it is possible for an African nation to win the World Cup” he said.

Meanwhile, Okocha will hope his native country, Nigeria secure qualification to the World Cup after missing out in 2022 following Ghana defeat in the play-off.