FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Ethiopa look to seal play-off place
By Football News
The CAF Group A leaders have 10 points, with the Bafana Bafana second on eight points with two matches remaining each.
Ethiopia can sew up top place in the pool with a victory, but the fact the reverse fixture in Rustenburg finished 1-1 shows that winning will not be easy.
Indeed, should South Africa earn three points at the Addis Ababa Stadium, they would take the upper hand in getting one step closer to next year's showpiece, especially as they host bottom-placed Botswana in their final group game.
The onus is on Gordon Igesund's men to get the victory though, as a draw would mean their fate is still in the hands of Ethiopia - who finish the group with an away game in the Central African Republic, a side they beat 2-0 in the reverse fixture.
Tunisia are all but guaranteed to win Group B as they have a five-point buffer on closest rivals Sierra Leone ahead of their trip to Equatorial Guinea.
Ivory Coast - the Group C pacesetters - are similarly close to sewing up their spot in the CAF play-off round, and they travel to Tanzania knowing a draw would virtually see them through.
Group D is still up in the air but Ghana, who are second behind Zambia by a point, can put huge claims on top spot when they travel to Lesotho.
The Zambians are likely to beat Sudan earlier in the weekend, but James Kwesi Appiah's side can maintain pressure on their rivals ahead of what is guaranteed to be a deciding group finale between the two nations in September.
Egypt can continue their attempt to be the only side to win all their group games, as they face the lowly Mozambique.
The Group G winners beat the island nation 2-0 last time out, and have only got a plus-six goal differential but are already through to the play-offs for the five African places in Brazil next year.
Also in the group, Guinea and Zimbabwe will go head-to-head in dead rubber.
Algeria can strengthen their hold on Group H with victory over winless Rwanda, while Mali can keep their hopes of progressing alive against Benin, who have lost their last two games.
Just two points covers first to last in Group I, making any victory vital with the Democratic Republic of Congo set to host Cameroon.
Group J is similar to I in closeness of competition, with Liberia able to overtake leaders Senegal in the table despite currently being in last place.