Some of the continent's less-heralded sides have made the most of the Africa Cup of Nations' expanded format.
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Here's the state of play heading into the final round of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, with 10 of the 24 berths in the finals up for grabs.
Officials of Algerian club USM Alger have played down the chants from fans about the late Iraqi leader at a match that prompted a political crisis.
Rachid Ghezzal netted a consolation goal as the Foxes were defeated 2-1 at home by Liverpool on Saturday.
Algeria have appointed former international Djamel Belmadi as their new national coach, the country's football federation announced on Thursday.
Morocco recently bid for the 2026 tournament but were beaten by a North and Central American coalition of USA, Mexico and Canada.
Last month, Morocco missed out to a joint bid by the United States, Mexico and Canada in the vote for the 2026 finals.
The Frenchman oversaw an encouraging World Cup campaign for the Atlas Lions despite their early elimination.
Algeria have parted ways with head coach Rabah Madjer, according to the Minister of Youth and Sports.
Portugal forward Goncalo Guedes made a strong claim for a place in their World Cup team by scoring twice in a comfortable 3-0 win against Algeria.
The Algerian Ministry of the Interior has assigned a team to examine the causes behind the weekend's stadium violence.
The high-profile duo haven't featured for the Fennecs since Rabah Madjer took over.
The Algeria international leads the line for the cup's all-star selection after scoring four goals for Leicester City.
While Africa's five World Cup finalizts prepare for next summer, controversy continues to mire the Algeria national side.
Madjer, a former Algeria international, took charge of his country for a third time last month when Lucas Alcarez was sacked.
KweséESPN picks out the five biggest African disappointments of the World Cup qualifying campaign.
While several of Africa's top names will be present at the World Cup, many have been left behind.
How did the Super Eagles fare in their final World Cup qualifier against Les Fennecs in Constantine?
Yacine Brahimi converted a late and controversial penalty to secure a 1-1 home draw for Algeria to deny Nigeria victory in the final qualifier.
Clinton N'Jie and the debuting Frantz Pangop scored for the Indomitable Lions as they beat already eliminated Algeria 2-0 in Yaounde.
Tunisia and Egypt took giant steps towards the World Cup, while Algeria were eliminated and Ghana rediscovered their goalscoring touch.
Chipolopolo ran out 3-1 winners at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka to all but end Algeria's hopes of a third consecutive World Cup appearance.
Riyad Mahrez has been given permission to leave the Algeria squad and return to Europe to "formalise his transfer to his new club."
Ryad Boudebouz took the opportunity of his official unveiling at Real Betis to explain why he plumped for the Spanish side.
Adelaide United have locked in their fourth foreigner for the coming A-League season, signing French-born Algerian midfielder Karim Matmour.