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Harambee Stars drawn against Cote d’Ivoire in 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers

Harambee Stars were on Thursday pooled alongside African football giants Cote d’Ivoire in the expanded 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers. Other teams in Group F are Gabon, Gambia, Burundi and Seychelles.

Africa will have at least nine representatives in the 2026 Fifa World Cup, up from the traditional five. Kenya, who are bidding for a first appearance at the global football showpiece, are coached by Engin Firat.

The draw was held in Cote d’Ivoire and there are other eight groups with six teams each. All 54-member states of CAF have been included.

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The qualifiers for the competition will kick off between November 13-21 this year and end on  November 10-18 in 2025 when the play-offs will be squared out.

Teams in the nine groups will play in a home and away, round-robin, format with each of the group winners qualifying automatically for the 48-team Fifa World Cup.

“The four best group runners-up will then compete in a play-off stage to determine Caf’s representative at the Fifa play-off tournament. The Fifa play-off tournament will feature one team from each of Fifa’s six confederations, except Uefa, plus one additional team from the host confederation (Concacaf),” the rules for the qualifiers state.

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“Two of the six teams will be seeded based on the Fifa/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The seeded teams will play for a Fifa World Cup berth against the winners of the first two knockout games involving the four unseeded teams.”

Neighbours Uganda are in Group G alongside African champions Algeria, Guinea, Mozambique, Botswana and Somalia while Tanzania will battle 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco, Zambia, Congo, Niger and Eritrea in Group E.

The competition will be jointly hosted by 16 cities in three North American countries: Canada, Mexico and the United States. Argentina won the 2022 World Cup hosted in Qatar last December.

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