5 Dec 2009

Tough draws for Africa's World Cup hopefuls

12:24 pm on 5 December 2009

Africa's hopes of getting most of its six representatives through to the knockout phase of next year's World Cup looked a tough ask after the draw on Saturday.

The first World Cup on the continent gives Africa a real chance to better its previous best of two quarter-final appearances but Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and hosts South Africa are all in danger of early elimination.

Cameroon and Ivory Coast are seen as the best bets for an African side to make it into the last week of the tournament but both countries must get through opening groups with two established sides up against them.

Cameroon have the Netherlands as well as Denmark and Japan to contend with, while the Ivorians must negotiate a group including five-time World Cup winners Brazil, and Portugal.

Ghana, who were the only African side to get past the first stage in Germany in 2006, were placed in another difficult group, with the Germans, Serbia and Australia.

Nigeria, who only qualified on a dramatic last day of the African qualifiers in November, face Argentina, Greece and South Korea while Algeria and South Africa are in even more difficult sections.

The hosts drew former winners France and Uruguay plus Mexico, who they play in the opening game at Johannesburg's Soccer City on June 11.

Algeria are in England's group.