SA’s Stuart Baxter – 2018 fate is in our own hands – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 09, 2017. 20:00

South Africa’s 2018 World Cup qualifying fate is in their own hands, much to the relief of coach Stuart Baxter.

Bafana Bafana defeated Burkina Faso 3-1 in Johannesburg on Saturday to revive their hopes of going to Russia 2018.

They were further boosted by news of a win for Senegal away to Cape Verde later in the day, with the combination of results meaning that the back-to-back matches between Bafana and the Teranga Lions next month will be decisive.

South Africa will first host Senegal in Polokwane on November 10 in a replay of the match from last year which was annulled by FIFA, before taking on the Teranga Lions in Dakar four days later.

While Senegal need only one win or two draws from the matches to guarantee top spot, South Africa must win them both.

It’s a tall order to beat one of Africa’s top teams two times in quick succession, but Baxter is just happy that his side’s fate is in their own control.

“Senegal’s victory over Cape Verde has tilted the scale slightly in our favour and now we are still very much alive in the qualifiers,” said Baxter, as quoted by Kick-Off.

“I have been saying we have to live in the here and now, what happens in the other match is not our concern.

“We have to win the remaining matches and we are off to Russia, anything less we know we are out – because with six points each, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde can only get to nine points, while two wins for us will take us to ten points, so it is very much in our hands.”

Baxter added, “If we thought the clash against Burkina Faso was a World Cup final, the two matches against Senegal are way more than that.

“We need to continue from where we left off against the Burkinabe and if we can have the same aggression and attitude when we face Senegal, then we are very close to realising our dream.

“There’s no doubt in my mind or the players’ that it will be a difficult match but it is very much possible to get positive results, and we have to continue to believe.

“We would like to thank the fans for the support at FNB Stadium, and we are confident they will do so again in Polokwane.”

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Motupa brace hands Baroka 3-1 win over Chippa

Musa Nyatama of Orlando Pirates challenges Gift Motupa of Baroka FC

Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Sep 12, 2017. 21:46

Gift Motupa came off the bench to score two goals for Baroka FC and help them claim a 3-1 win over hosts Chippa United in an Absa Premiership clash on Tuesday.

Bakgaga picked up their first win of the season in the match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, while the Chilli Boys will look back at a game in which they were often the dominant force and wonder how they ended up with zero points.

Chippa started brightly and had the first clear chance of the match as early as the sixth minute, with winger Menzi Masuku sending a shot just wide of Virgil Vries’ goalposts.

The Eastern Cape side had further long-range efforts off target from Abel Mabaso and Mark Mayambela, but in the 27th minute they need goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo to pull off a fine save to keep out an effort from Lucky Nguzana.

The chance gave Baroka a new spark and on 41 minutes they claimed a surprise lead, with Chippa’s defence all at sea as they attempted to keep out a relentless attack, and an unfortunate James Okwuosa put the ball into his own net.

The Chilli Boys made a change upfront early in the second half, replacing Moeketsi Sekola with Katlego Mashego. The veteran forward soon proved his worth when he converted from the penalty spot in the 56th minute to draw the teams level at 1-1.

Chippa looked to have the bit between their teeth and began piling pressure on Baroka’s defence, but against the run of play the Polokwane side regained the lead in the 63rd minute when substitute Gift Motupa finished off a rare chance.

The Eastern Cape side looked to go up a gear in what remained of the game, but they struggled to find a way past Baroka’s resilient defence.

And the Limpopo side ensured all three points would come back home with them when Motupa netted his second goal, beating Mhlongo for the second time in the final minute of regulation time to wrap up an impressive 3-1 away win.

Chippa United (0) 1 (Mashego 56’ pen)

Baroka FC (1) 3 (Okwuosa og 40’, Motupa 63’ 90’)

Chippa: Mhlongo, Mvelase, Macheke, Okwuosa, Maphanga, Mabaso, Zuke, Mayambela (Manzini 73’), Lentjies, Masuku (Mako 59’), Sekola (Mashego 52’)

Baroka: Vries, Shaku, Kgoetyane, Ntshangase (Motupa 59’), Banda, Moeti, Chawapihwa, Mothupa, Madubanya, Mdantsane, Nguzana

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Idrissa Halidou goals hands Niger WAFU group spot – WAFU Cup of Nations 2017

Halidou Garba Idrissa of Niger celebrate goal with team mate during the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations Tournament. Between Burkina Faso v Niger in Cape Coast, Ghana on 10 September 2017 ©Christian Thompson/ BackpagePix

Staff Reporter

Sunday Sep 10, 2017. 18:56

A second half goal from Idrissa Halidou handed Niger a 2-1 win over Burkina Faso in a Last 16, 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Sunday, September 10.

The match started a little slowly with both sides squandering possession in the final third of the field.

The first real chance on goal came in the 17th minute when Niger’s Boubacar Hainikoye Soumana cut in from the left flank, beating one defender before firing just over the target from 20-yards out.

Boubacar Hainikoye Soumana was at it again eight minutes later when a powerful shot from the edge of the box deflected inches wide of the goal.

Burkina Faso came within inches of taking the lead on the half hour mark when Romeo Boni met a low left-wing cross from David Emmanuel Gora, but his eight-yard shot struck the crossbar.

The tournament saw its first goal from open play four minutes later when Boubacar Hainikoye Soumana showed great strength to fight off a defender and latch onto a through ball before duly lobbing the onrushing goalkeeper, 1-0.

Despite taking the lead, Niger suffered a bit of a set-back in the 40th minute when Hutmanu Ganiyu left the field injured and was replaced by Abdoul Moumouni Boubacar.

The half ended 1-0 in favour of Niger.

Burkina Faso came out firing at the start of the second half and made their pressure tell on the hour mark when substitute Hassamy Sansan Dah turned home a low right-wing cross from Adama Barro at close range, 1-1.

Niger, though, quickly hit back and took the lead for the second time in the 71st minute when Idrissa Halidou slipped in behind the Burkina Faso defence and slotted the ball between the legs of the advancing goalkeeper, 2-1.

Burkina Faso tried to find their way back into the game for a second time and threw numbers forward in attack, but they failed to break down the resolute Niger defence and exited the WAFU tournament.

Burkina Faso (0) 1 (Dah 59’)

Niger (1) 2 (Soumana 34’, Halidou 71’)


Burkina Faso coach: Brama Traore

Burkina Faso: 16. Ouedrago, 18. Bambara, 6. Couilbaly, 5. Beao, 3. Gora, 11. Barro, 4. To, 17. A. Traore (Zongo 88’), 10. Sylla, 7. Nana (9. Ahiro 66’), 14. Boni (13. Dah 50’).

Niger coach: Francois Zhaoui

Niger: 1. Dauda, 3. Lebne, 10. Halidou, 11. Victorien (8. Daouda 85’), 12. Dela, 13. Soumana, 14. Ganiyu (23. A. Boubacar 40’), 15. Abdoulaye, 17. Souley (19. Khaido 90’), 18. Dankwae, 20. Hainikoye.

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Algeria crash and burn at the hands of Zambia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Staff Reporter

Tuesday Sep 05, 2017. 23:42

Algeria have crashed and burned at the hands of Zambia who beat them 1-0 in a Group B, 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaoui in Constantine on Tuesday night.

The loss leaves Algeria rooted at the bottom of their World Cup qualifying group with one point to their name and unable to qualify for Russia.

The same can also be said for Cameroon who are third in Group B with three points following their 1-1 draw with Nigeria, on Monday.

The win for Zambia sees them keep up their pressure on Nigeria in Group B – the Southern African side has seven points, three behind leaders Nigeria.

Algeria controlled the flow of the game early on and should have taken the lead in the 16th minute, but Riyad Mahrez failed to score from a penalty sport.

Algeria suffered a further set-back in the 24th minute when goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi had to leave the field injured and was replaced by Abdelkadir Salhi.

The disruption in the Algerian team allowed the hard fighting Zambians a chance to claw their way back into a match.

Zambia began seeing more of the ball and pressed forward in their aggressive attacking nature, but they could not find any goals before the half time break.

The visiting Southern Africans came out the tunnel a much better looking side and seemed ready to cause an upset in Constantine.

Algeria’s Youcef Attal looked to be struggling in the middle of the park and he was quickly replaced by Adam Ounas in the 54th minute.

Zambia responded directly to counter that substitution when Justin Shonga was replaced by Alex Ngonga on the hour mark.

After six minutes of being on the field, Zambian substitute Alex Ngonga turned provider as he played Patson Daka through on goal and he duly found the back of the net with a clinical finish, 1-0.

Algeria tried to rescue the match, but were unable to do so.

Algeria (0) 0

Zambia (0) 1 (Daka 67’)


Algeria: M’Bolhi (Salhi 24’), Ghoulam, Bensebaini, Benguit, Mandi, Brahimi (Slimani 74), Taider, Attal (Ounas 50’), Mahrez, Bentaleb, Soudani.

Zambia: Mweene, Kampumbu, Sunzu, Tembo, Silwimba, Mulenga, Mwepu, Mtonga, Mbewe, Shonga (Ngonga 60’), Daka (Malama 90’).

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DRC coach: Our fate is still in our own hands – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Youssouf Mulumbu (L) with Florent Ibenge (R)

Graeme Jackson

Sunday Sep 03, 2017. 15:00

DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge insists that his side’s fate in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers is still in their own hands.

The Leopards succumbed to a 2-1 defeat away to Group A leaders Tunisia on Friday night, leaving them three points adrift of the North Africans in the race for top spot.

However, Ibenge explains that a win in the teams’ return game at the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa on Tuesday evening will put them back in the running for a place in Russia 2018.

“The return match will be approached with the firm intention to take the three points,” Ibenge told a post-match press conference.

“The main thing is to finish first of this group. For now we are second, there are three matches to play. Nothing is lost. We still have our destiny in our hands.

“That is to say that one does not depend on the results of the others, one depends on our own results. So if we beat Tunisia on Tuesday, we take again the head of the group.”

Ibenge regretted the poor start his team made to both halves in the match in Rades and has promised that they will be on the ball from the first whistle in the return game.

“We had a bad start in the game, we had a better finish,” added the DRC mentor.

“At the half time I insisted that we could start this second half in the same concentration that we finished the first.

“There is a goal, similar to the first. This is where there is a bit of anger. But we must go back, correct, so that on Tuesday it does not happen anymore.”

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Ibenge hands Masuaku maiden DRC call-up – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

West Ham defender Arthur Masuaku

Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Aug 14, 2017. 20:00

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have decided to hand West Ham United defender Arthur Masuaku his first senior national team call-up.

The Leopards of DRC are scheduled to take on one of Africa’s giants, Tunisia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers early next month.

The first match will be played in Rades, Tunisia on 1 September 2017 and five days later DRC are set to host North African giants in Kinshasa.

Masuaku, who was born in France, has only represented the European country at youth level, and has now been called up by DRC head coach Florent Ibenge.

Complete DR Congo squad:

Goalkeepers: Joel Kiasumbua (FC Lugano, Switzerland), Nicaisse Kudimbana (Union Saint-Gilles, Belgium), Ley Matampi (TP Mazembe Englebert)

Defenders: Yannick Bangala, Padou Bompunga (both AS Vita Club), Jordan Ikoko (En Avant Guingamp, France), Arnold Issoko (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal), Christian Luyindama (Standard Liège, Belgium), Arthur Masuaku (West Ham United, England), Kevin Mbabu (Young Boys Berne, Switzerland), Issama Mpeko (TP Mazembe Englebert), Glody Ngonda (AS Vita Club), Fabrice Nsakala (Alanyasport, Turkey), Vital Nsimba (Bourg-en-Bresse, France), Marcel Tisserand (FC Ingolstadt, Germany), Gabriel Zakuani (Gillingham, England)

Midfielders: Chadrac Akolo (VfB Stuttgart, Germany), Merville Bokadi (Standard Liège, Belgium), Neekens Kebano (Fulham, England), Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City, England), Chancel Mbemba (Newcastle United, England), Wilfred Moke (Konyaspor, Turkey), Remi Mulumba (Gazelec Ajaccio, France), Tanguy Ndombele (Amiens, France), Yeni Ngbakoto (Queens Park Rangers, England)

Forwards: Benik Afobe (Bournemouth, England), Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough, England), Jeremy Bokila (CFR Cluj, Romania), Jonathan Bolingi (Royal Excel Mouscron, Belgium), Cédric Bakambu (Villarreal, Spain), Jordan Botaka (St Truiden, Belgium), Junior Kabananga (FC Astana, Kazakhstan), Elias Kachunga (Huddersfield Town, England), Gael Kakuta (Amiens, France), Paul-José Mpoku (Standard Liège, Belgium), Firmin Mubele (Stade Rennes, France).

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Muzamiru Mutyaba brace hands Uganda big advantage over Rwanda

Erisa Ssekisambu and Muzamiru Mutyaba of Uganda

Brian Lee

Saturday Aug 12, 2017. 17:21

A brace from Muzamiru Mutyaba helped Uganda to an impressive 3-0 win over Rwanda in a first leg, third round African Nations Championship qualifier at the St Mary’s Stadium in Kampala on Saturday afternoon.

Uganda controlled the flow of play from the onset and opened the scoring in the 14th minute courtesy of a penalty strike from Muzamiru Mutyaba, 1-0.

The home side continued to pile on the pressure and added to the scoreline ten minutes later when Muzamiru Mutyaba found his second goal of the game, 2-0.

Rwanda tried to find their way back into the game before the break, but they were unable to sustain any period of possession and consequently were unable to create goal scoring chances.

Uganda took a two goal lead into the break.

The second half started much similar to the first with Uganda finding their third goal in the 51st minute thanks to Bernard Muwanga who found the back of the net with a clinical finish, 3-0.

Uganda took their foot off the pedal after that and cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win.

Rwanda will have a lot to do in the return leg of this third round tie which will be held at the Stade Régional Nyamirambo in Kigali next Saturday, August 19.

The winner of this two-leg qualifier will take part in CHAN 2019 in Kenya.

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Parker hands Kaizer Chiefs CBLC Cup – ABSA Premiership 2016/17

Kaizer Chiefs defeated Orlando Pirates 1-0 in the 2017 Carling Black Label Champion Cup clash at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Scent ition

Saturday Jul 29, 2017. 17:49

Kaizer Chiefs defeated Orlando Pirates 1-0 in the 2017 Carling Black Label Champion Cup clash at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

The narrow victory saw Amakhosi defend the trophy – winning it for the third time in the process.

The Buccaneers struggled to contain a spirited Amakhosi side in the opening stages of the pre-season encounter.

Chiefs then deservedly took the lead in the ninth minute through Bernard Parker’s well-taken shot with Gustavo Paez grabbing an assist.

It was nearly 2-0 to Chiefs in the 16th minute as Pirates goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane finger-tipped Chiefs midfielder Hendrick Eskstein’s effort over the crossbar.

The momentum was with Amakhosi and Parker’s dangerous curling attempt was headed out for a corner-kick by Pirates defender Ayanda Gcaba in the 40th minute.

However, Pirates managed to contain Chiefs in the remaining minutes of the first-half and Amakhosi were leading 1-0 at the interval.

Mpontshane had to deny Chiefs striker Paez with a decent save ten minutes into the second-half in order to keep Pirates in the game.

Chiefs keeper Itumeleng Khune was seriously tested in the 70th minute – gathering Pirates midfielder Mpho Makola’s attempt as the Buccaneers looked to equalizer.

Khune then produced a great save to deny Bernard Morrison ten minutes later and Ayanda Gcaba headed the rebound on to the crossbar as Pirates pressed Chiefs.

It was end-to-end in the closing stages of the match, but Chiefs held on to their slender lead and they emerged 1-0 winners.

Chiefs (1) 1 (Parker 9′)
Pirates (0) 0

Chiefs: Khune, Mphahlele, Mathoho, Gordinho, Masilela, Ekstein (Malope 87′), Katsande (Moon 53′), Maluleka, Lebese, Paez (Cardoso 85′), Parker (Twala 72′).

Pirates: Mpontshane, Matlaba, Jele, Gcaba, Phungwayo, Makola (Nkosi 75′), Manyisa (Mobara 65′), Sarr (Sangweni 53′), Memela (Kutumela 58′), Gabuza (Morrison 65′), Ndoro (Nyatama 58′).

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Gitel Jusly Boukama-Kaya brace hands Recreativo Libolo victory

Club Recreativo Do Libolo left back Estavo Manuel Cahoco

Brian Lee

Tuesday Jun 20, 2017. 18:15

Angolan side Recreativo Libolo earned their second win in the group stages of this season’s CAF Confederation Cup after beating Zambia’s Zesco United 3-0 at the Estado de Calulu in Luanda on Tuesday.

The win sees Recreativo Libolo up to six points in Group C, joint with Zesco United who suffered their second loss in the competition.

The other Group C game between Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid and Smouha will take place later on Tuesday night with both teams equal on four points.

The match in Luanda on Tuesday saw the home team off to the perfect start with Gitel Jusly Boukama-Kaya opening the scoring in the ninth minute, 1-0.

Recreativo Libolo continued to pile on the pressure after taking the early lead, but despite controlling the possession stakes their finishing in front of goal was poor which resulted in the half ending 1-0 in favour of the home side.

The second half saw Recreativo Libolo much more clinical in front of goal and they managed to double their lead in the 77th minute courtesy of a second goal from Gitel Jusly Boukama-Kaya, 2-0.

The icing on the cake for the home side was their third goal in the 82nd minute courtesy of a penalty strike from Fabricio, 3-0.

After scoring their third goal Recreativo Libolo took their foot off the pedal and cruised to victory.

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Late goal hands CAR narrow win over Rwanda

Brian Lee

Sunday Jun 11, 2017. 18:23

A late second half goal from Salif Keita handed Central Africa Republic a 2-1 win over Rwanda in a CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Group H qualifier at the Stade Barthelemy Boganda in Bangui on Sunday.

The win sees CAR’s Afcon 2019 qualifying campaign off to a positive start with one win from as many matches as they occupy second spot in Group H with three points.

Guinea top the group, also with three points, after beating Cote d’Ivoire 3-2 on Saturday.

Rwanda are third in the group with zero points, followed by Cote d’Ivoire also on zero points but with an inferior goal difference.

At the at the Stade Barthelemy Boganda on Sunday the home side controlled the majority of possession in the opening half, but their decision making in the final third was poor which resulted in very few chances in front of goal.

Rwanda, on the other hand, saw very little of the ball in the first stanza and spent most of the half defending which saw the game enter the break locked at 0-0.

Three minutes into the second half, however, the deadlock was broken when Junior Gourrier found the back of the net for CAR, 1-0.

Rwanda tried to get back into the game after that, but they lacked attacking prowess and squandered good scoring opportunities.

Still, Rwanda pressed forward and manged to find an equaliser in the first minute of injury time courtesy of a strike from Ernest Sugira, 1-1.

The game looked to be heading for a draw, but Salif Keita had other ideas – scoring the winner for CAR in the 93rd minute, 2-1.

The next Afcon 2019 qualifiers are only in March 2018 when Rwanda will host Cote d’Ivoire while CAR will head to Guinea.

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Idris Mbombo hands Zesco win and top spot in Group C – 2017 CAF Confederation Cup

Al Ahly’s Ali Maaloul (R) in action against Zesco United‘s John Ching’andu (L) during the African Champions League (CAF) group stage match between Al Ahly and Zesco United at the military Stadium in Suez, Egypt, 12 August 2016. EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

Brian Lee

Sunday Jun 04, 2017. 17:21

Zambian side Zesco United moved to the top of their CAF Confederation Cup Group C after beating Angolan side Recreativo Libolo 1-0 at the Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola on Sunday.

The win sees Zesco up to six points in Group C, two points above second placed Smouha who played to a 1-1 draw against Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid on Saturday.

Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid are in third place in the standings, also with four points with Recreativo Libolo sitting at the bottom of Group C with three points to their name.

The only goal of the game was scored by Idris Mbombo in the 28th minute to hand Zesco their second win in the Confederation Cup group stages and Recreativo Libolo’s second loss.

The match itself was not one of high quality with chances on goal few and far between. Neither side looked impressive on the ball and gave away possession rather cheaply.

The game did end on a rather sour note with two red cards brandished – Celson Costa given his marching orders in the 86th minute for Recreativo Libolo while Agay Akuma was shown red in the 89th minute.

Recreativo Libolo will be given a chance to avenge their loss to Zesco when they host them in their next CAF Confederation Cup match in a fortnight.

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Diawara hands CRD Libolo late win

Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday May 14, 2017. 19:20

Clube Recreativo Sportive de Libolo beat Al Hilal Al-IUbayid 1-0 in the Caf Confederation Cup Group C match at the Estádio Municipal de Calulo in Angola on Sunday afternoon.

Mamadou Diawara netted the only goal for the hosts in the dying stages of the contest in injury time.

For the visiting Hilal, the Sudanese giants, are now placed at the third spot with zero points resulting from this defeat.

The win takes the Angolans to the top spot on the log table with three points above Zambian side, Zesco United who occupy the second spot.

Although, they were looking for an early lead at home, Libolo failed to take advantage of their home ground in the opening stages of the match.

However, Carlos Manuel Vaz Pinto’s men managed to control the match and ensured they opened their continental competition’s account with a victory.

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FIFA hands Africa nine automatic spots at World Cup – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

FIFA President Gianni Infantino

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday May 12, 2017. 09:00

The world’s football governing body, FIFA, has ratified their decision to hand Africa nine automatic places when the World Cup expands to 48 teams in 2026.

According to the BBC website report, the decision by the FIFA Council has been confirmed on Tuesday in Bahrain, thus giving Africa four more spots.

It is reported that a 10th African country will take part in a six-nation play-off tournament to decide the last two spots.


Meanwhile, the Bureau of the FIFA Council made the original proposal of how it planned to allocate the 48 places on 30 March.

The decision to expand the World Cup was taken in January when FIFA members voted to see the tournament played by teams from 32 to 48.

However, the expanded World Cup will feature 16 teams from Europe and the changes are set to start with the 2026 edition.

The website also indicates that teams from Asia, North and Central America, South America and Oceania will play-off for two places.

Below is how the continents will benefit from the changes as per allocation by the global football authority.

Africa: 9 direct slots – increased from 5 (currently 54 members)

Asia: 8 direct slots – increased from 4.5 (currently 46 members)

North and Central America: 6 direct slots – increased from 3.5 (currently 34 members)

South America: 6 direct slots – increased from 4.5 (currently 10 members)

Oceania: 1 direct slot – increased from 0.5 (currently 11 members)

Europe: 16 direct slots – increased from 13 (currently 55 members)

Final two places in 2026 decided by six-team play-offs

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