JOHANNESBURG: FIFA have altered the seeding for the 2018 World Cup Africa group draw in Cairo on Friday with Egypt, Guinea and Cameroon promoted and Tunisia, Nigeria and Mali demoted.
Egypt are now among the top seeds and Guinea and Cameroon are second seeds ahead of a draw that will split 20 nations into five groups with the winners qualifying for the finals in Russia.
Tunisia drop from first to second seeds and Nigeria and Mali from second to third seeds for the most eagerly anticipated off-field event in African football this year.
FIFA have not explained why they changed the seedings.
Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria are seeking third consecutive World Cup appearances.
Group qualifying starts this October, continues in November and there will be four rounds between August and November 2017.
Eighteen of the nations in the draw are among the top 20 in the rankings with Gabon and Libya the exceptions.
Pot 1: Algeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal, Egypt
Pot 2: Tunisia, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Cameroon
Pot 3: Congo Brazzaville, Nigeria, Morocco, Mali, South Africa
Pot 4: Uganda, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Gabon, Libya AFP