Sierra Leone are in the midst of a real battle to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They are among the 26 lowest-ranked participating associations from the region that will have their route to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia mapped out on Saturday when the Preliminary Draw for the qualifiers is held at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg.
The Leone Stars of Sierra Leone suffered their lowest ranking in 11 months, 28 places down sitting 111 positions in the latest Fifa world rankings for July 2015.
Based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of July 2015 Sierra Leone together with 12 other nations are allocated in pot one, they will then be drawn against each other to play over two legs on a home and away basis between 5 and 13 October 2015.
Pot One: The 13 highest ranked teams (Niger, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Kenya, Botswana, Madagascar, Mauritania, Burundi, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau, and Swaziland)
Pot Two: The 13 lowest ranked teams (Tanzania, Gambia, Liberia, Central African Republic, Chad, Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti)
Because Zimbabwe expelled from the preliminary competition by the world football body (FIFA) Disciplinary Committee, Africa will now have 53 of its 54 member associations involved in the Preliminary Draw.
The 13 winners of the two leg match will advance to Round Two, where they will join the remaining 27 highest-ranked teams from the region and face off in another two-legged play off, home and away.