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Africa World Cup Qualifiers to stream on ESPN+

Africa World Cup Qualifiers

Editor’s note: YouTube and FIFATV held the rights to the CAF World Cup Qualifying matches. Just before games started during the September international break, ESPN acquired the rights to air the games through ESPN+.

The African World Cup Qualifiers enter their second round during the September 2021 international break. And, in welcome news for soccer fans, all games will be available via ESPN+.

With ESPN making a hefty commitment to their soccer coverage, this demonstrates just another example of their attempt to grow the soccer market. Each of the games will be available on ESPN’s paid-streaming service in the United States.

Previously, YouTube and FIFATV were going to broadcast the Africa World Cup Qualifiers. Now, with a last-minute change, ESPN acquired the rights from FIFA for the United States’ coverage.

ESPN+, which also broadcasts LaLiga, the Bundesliga and multiple other competitions, will provide coverage of all 40 games in the September international break.

READ MORE: The complete TV guide for all World Cup qualifiers.

Africa World Cup Qualifiers format

CAF uses a multi-stage format to send their teams to the World Cup. For Africa, five teams will qualify for the group stage in Qatar.

In September 2019, 28 teams played home-and-away ties to reach the second stage. These 28 teams are the bottom-half of the CAF ranking issued by FIFA in July 2019. After the two-leg tie, these 14 teams, along with the 24 teams receiving a bye to the second round, enter the group stage in round two.

The 40 teams go into 10 groups of four. Each team plays each team in their group twice. One game is at home, the other is on the road. After each team plays their six games, the group winners enter a random draw to play another group winner in a home-and-away tie in the third round.

At the end of the tournament, there are five teams remaining, and these teams travel to Qatar for the World Cup.

This format differs from the previous renditions of the tournament. For example, in 2018, the group stage of the competition came in the third round. Then, it was five groups of four, with the group winners reaching the World Cup in Russia.

Regardless of any changes, the Africa World Cup Qualifiers never seem to disappoint. Additionally, that holds true for the first round in this cycle.

Somalia, the second-to-last ranked team in Africa, went up against Zimbabwe, the best team in the first stage. Somalia won at home 1-0. Later, a dramatic second leg came down to a 90th-minute winner. Three goals in the last five minutes saw Zimbabwe punch their ticket to the second stage of the competition.

Expect the same drama in the second round of the tournament. Only now, these games are available through an ESPN+ subscription.

Africa World Cup Qualifiers schedule

 

 

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Daniele Baldi

    October 7, 2021 at 6:06 am

    In Italy i can watch the games or not?

  2. Jasinho

    September 2, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    I’m uncertain if I am still unable to link to it, but there was an article that stated YouTube held the global non-exclusive rights to CAF national team matches in territories that don’t already have broadcasting rights with CAF. My guess is that ESPN+ did an 11th hour deal to get it on ESPN+, while good for ESPN+, the bad thing is the Premier League based players couldn’t participate this time around and that is a whole another issue onto itself.

  3. locofooty

    September 2, 2021 at 10:55 am

    Yes, the first round matches would be. FIFA took over and centralized the rights due to the mess that was CAF at the time. They were supposed to sell the rights for the following rounds and share the revenue equally to all federations. FIFA is still paying them for the rights, but the amount of money can’t be the same if the rights were bought by a company. I’m sure they wanted to show some matches for free, but the objective was to market them. FIFA failed so far, but it’s not too late as the ESPN deal showed.

  4. Turfit

    September 2, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Locofooty, FIFA announced back in September 2019 that all CAF qualifying matches would be on youtube around the world to help promote CAF. So what happen that it is now on ESPN+ instead of streaming for free in the US? Does CAF not need promoting in the US?
    Yes, I have ESPN+ so I’m able to watch it. But I also have Youtube and I subscribe to FIFA.

  5. Barry Groesser

    September 2, 2021 at 10:04 am

    While I get ESPN, I can’t say that I’m happy that they archive the replays after 31 days. I live for replays and still have to hustle to get to some before they go.

  6. locofooty

    September 2, 2021 at 9:21 am

    Turfit, it was not supposed to happen like that. FIFA screwed up. It’s the only WCQ that are available for “free”. That should tell you something.

  7. Turfit

    September 2, 2021 at 5:15 am

    “And, in welcome news for soccer fans, all games will be available via ESPN+.”
    So, everyone in the world is able to watch these matches for free on YouTube except in the US where we are excited about having to pay for a product that is free everyplace else!?!?!?

  8. locofooty

    September 1, 2021 at 11:15 am

    ESPN does it again. Good news for the ESPN+ users. FIFA really screwed CAF by retaining the rights and saying they would market them around the world. They completely failed. At least some money is going back to the Confederation with the ESPN deal now.

  9. Dave Clemens

    September 1, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Oh, OK. I see what happened. WST just updated this article pointing out that ESPN acquired the Africa World Cup qualifier rights at the last minute, and they are all on ESPN+. I happen to have ESPN+, and I’m watching Central African Republic-Cape Verde as I type. Disappointing for anyone who was counting on seeing the matches for free, though.

  10. KL

    September 1, 2021 at 9:58 am

    ESPN+ Bought the Rights.

  11. Dave Clemens

    September 1, 2021 at 9:51 am

    LIke Jason and KL, I went on FIFA’s YouTube channel this morning with great expectations. And was similarly disappointed to see “Video unavailable — The uploader has not made this video available in your country.” What the hell! Is FIFA assuming there’s no interest in African football in the U.S.?

  12. KL

    September 1, 2021 at 7:01 am

    Same here. That’s disappointing.

  13. Jason R Gatties

    September 1, 2021 at 6:55 am

    “Video blocked in this country”

    I live in the United States, soooo

  14. Mercator

    August 31, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    FIFA really stepped up here – this is fantastic and it really looks like it will be produced well. The trailer video on the FIFA TV Youtube channel is a banger! Naija better not embarrass itself against the mighty Liberia, the world may actually be watching.

  15. Turfit

    August 31, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    Please correct me if I’m wrong Kyle, Africa world cup qualifying is on youtube but Africa Cup of Nations which is scheduled for January 2022 is on beIN Sports in the USA, correct?

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