Fifty-two out of the 53 national associations affiliated to CAF entered the qualifying to determine the continent’s five slots for the next World Cup.
The proposed format, announced on 16 May 2011, began in November 2011 with the first round of 12 two-legged knock-out ties. The ties, involving the 24 lowest-ranked teams according to FIFA World Rankings, were drawn in Brazil on 30 July 2011.
The 12 winners joined the remaining 28 CAF entrants in the second round, which consists of 10 groups of 4. The winners of each group – held between June 2012 and September 2013 – advanced to the third round of 5 two-legged knock-out ties. The 5 winners of these ties – held in October and November 2013 – advanced to the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.
The first round consisted of 12 home-and-away ties, featured the 24 lowest ranked teams in Africa. The ties were drawn at the World Cup Preliminary Draw at the Marina da Glória in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 30 July 2011. The winners of these series proceeded to the second round.
The second round saw the top 28 ranked CAF teams joined by the 12 winners from the first round. These teams were drawn into ten groups of four teams at the World Cup Preliminary Draw at the Marina da Glória in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 30 July 2011. The matches were played from 1 June 2012 to 7 September 2013. The top team from each group advanced to the third round.
The draw of the play-offs was held on 16 September 2013 at the CAF headquarters in Cairo. The teams were seeded based on the September 2013 edition of the FIFA Ranking (shown below in brackets).