Africa could have as many as 10 teams competing at the 2026 World Cup after the allocation for places at the expanded 48-nation competition was ratified by the FIFA Council during their meeting in Bahrain.
Africa is guaranteed nine places; up from the current five, while a 10th nation will enter a six-team play-off tournament to decide the final two qualifiers, raising the potential of an extra place for the continent.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) had been lobbying for at least 10 spots, with the continent providing 54 of FIFA’s 211 member associations, a little more than a quarter.
It appears as though a compromise has been reached, though it remains an uneven split compared to the more favored confederations such as Europe and South America. The latter has only 10 member associations, but is guaranteed that six of those will be at the tournament, with the potential for a seventh through the play-off tournament. It means that 70 percent of the South American nations could compete.
Europe has seen their number of guaranteed slots raised from 13 to 16, while the North and Central American confederation has also seen their number of teams doubled from a guaranteed three to six, while Asia goes up from four to eight. Oceania will now have one guaranteed place, having previously had to go through a play-off with a team from South America.