Occasionally, good teams have bad coefficients in their regions because they haven't been good for very long. This is fine, especially since most confederations have some kind of built-in mechanism to make sure that coefficients aren't the sole reason that really good teams miss out on the World Cup. Rounds before the final round of qualifying will generally let the second-placed team in a group progress, or at least go into a playoff.
CAF doesn't have a system like this, and as a result, we will have to waive goodbye to Ghana or Zambia on Friday. One of them will be eliminated from World Cup contention for no good reason. Only one team advances from each group in the second round of CAF World Cup qualifying, which features Ghana, arguably the African nation with the deepest pool of talent, and Zambia, the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations winners, in the same group.
Ghana has 12 points, while Zambia sits on 11, so only a win will do for the visitors on Friday. Zambia won the previous meeting between the two teams in Ndola, but surprisingly drew at home to Sudan and away to Lesotho.
All of Zambia's biggest names are fit and were called up for the match, while some of Ghana's most famous faces miss out. Sulley Muntari, Isaac Vorsah, Derek Boateng and Jordan Ayew all miss out for the Black Stars for various reasons. Striker Asamoah Gyan, who has been reinstated as captain under James Kwesi Appiah, has four goals in qualifying and will spearhead the Ghanaian attack.
Match date/time: Friday, 6 p.m. local, 12 p.m. ET
Venue: Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi, Ghana