• July 17, 2023

Sierra Leone Heads to 2026 World Cup

Sierra Leone Heads to 2026 World Cup
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By: Hassan Osman Kargbo

Sierra Leone national men’s team – Leone Stars has been drawn in Group A for a space in 2026 FIFA World Cup in United States of America, Mexico and Canada.

Leone Stars’ journey to qualifier for the 2026 FIFA World Cup scheduled to be hosted in the USA, Mexico and Canada will commence in November 2023.

Leone Stars will face one of the giants of African football, Egypt. The Egyptians are the most successful team in the African Cup of Nations Competition. They have won the title seven times, including a hat-trick between 2006 and 2010. They have finished as runners-up on three occasions (1962, 2017 and 2021) and third thrice (1963, 1970 and 1974). Also, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, and Djibouti are all in the same Group A with Sierra Leone for a place in 2026 FIFA World Cup.

In the 2022 World Cup preliminaries, Our close neighbours, Liberia eliminated Sierra Leone 3-2 on aggregate after the Lone Star won the first leg 3-1 and suffered a 1-0 defeat in Freetown, both matches played in September 2019.

However, with the latest format of 48 teams competing with a minimum of nine African teams guaranteed places for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, many Sierra Leoneans believe this could be a chance for Leone Stars to take part in the world biggest football competition.

The winners of each group will automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026. However, the road to USA, Mexico and Canada is not only limited to the various winners of difference groups. The four best runners-up from various groups will also battle it in a play-off stage. The winner of the Play-off Tournament will play in the FIFA Play-off Tournament.

The play-off competition will feature one team from each of FIFA’s six confederations, excluding UEFA, plus one additional team from the host confederations (Concacaf).

The first official World Cup was played in Uruguay 1930, and since when the tournament has been held every fourth year (with exceptions for interruption due to the Second World War). The 2026 FIFA World Cup is the 23rd FIFA World Cup to be co-hosted in three countries, Canada, Mexico and the United States.

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