The Super Eagles of Nigeria are eagerly anticipating the group stage opponents for the 2026 World Cup, with the draw set to take place on July 12. The draw will occur in Cotonou, Benin Republic, on the eve of the 45th CAF Ordinary General Assembly, according to a statement from the organizing body.

In a departure from previous editions, Africa will implement a streamlined single-stage qualification format for the upcoming World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This decision marks the end of the three-round qualification process that typically spanned nearly two years.

Approved during a meeting in Algiers, the new format will divide the 54 Member Associations into nine groups, each comprising six teams. The teams will compete in a round-robin format, and the group winners after Match Day 10 will secure direct qualification to the 2026 World Cup.

Additionally, the four best second-placed teams from the nine groups will participate in a Continental play-off to determine a single winner. This winner will then advance to a second and final play-off stage, which will include six teams from other confederations. From this play-off, the top two teams will secure their places in the World Cup, resulting in a total of 48 participating teams.

The qualification matches are scheduled to commence in November of this year, with the first and second matchdays set for November 13-21. Matchdays three and four are scheduled for June 2024, while the final matchdays will take place between October 6 and 14.

The Continental play-off, which may provide an additional African slot, will be held from November 10-18, 2025, with the venue yet to be determined.

In the previous World Cup held in Qatar, Africa was represented by Morocco, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, and Tunisia. Notably, Nigeria missed out on the tournament for the first time since 2010. To determine the final two World Cup qualifying teams, a playoff tournament will involve six teams, including the historical semi-finalists, Morocco.