Morocco are the first to qualify for AFCON, but where do the rest stand going into gameweek 4?

Gomez: USMNT have the upper hand in Balogun pursuit (1:42)

Herculez Gomez speaks about why Folarin Balogun is in Florida during the international break. (1:42)

We're passed the halfway stage in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign, with some of the continent's best on the brink of securing their places in the Ivory Coast... and others nervously watching over their shoulder.

So far, World Cup semifinalists Morocco are the only team qualified for the tournament -- alongside the hosts -- but who else could join them this week, and who are in danger of falling by the wayside?

Here's the state of play so far in each of the AFCON qualifying groups.

Group A

Friday's home defeat by Guinea-Bissau was doubtless one of the worst competitive results in Nigeria's recent memory, with a poor quality pitch, low attendance and lack of coherent strategy combining to ensure a truly miserable outing for the Super Eagles.

Having now lost four matches on the trot, the pressure is certainly on coach Jose Peseiro, and while he'll be aware that qualification cannot be decided this international break, his future may well depend on him overseeing a significant improvement in Bissau on Monday.

Specifically, the ex-Sporting Lisbon boss will be expected to get more out of a forward line that contains the likes of Victor Osimhen, Ademola Lookman, Samuel Chukwueze and potentially Terem Moffi, all of whom are enjoying fine club campaigns in Europe.

Sierra Leone, having played a game more than Nigeria, are breathing down the Super Eagles' necks -- five points to six -- and the three-time African champions will be desperate to put more room between themselves and the Leone Stars before they face them again in June.

It was against Sierra Leone, of course, that Nigeria conspired to throw away a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 during the last AFCON qualifying campaign, and the prospect of needing a result away at one of their bogey teams to retain the initiative in the group is hardly appetising.

At least Nigeria know that, hosting lowly Sao Tome e Principe in their final group game, they have their most straightforward game still to play, having smashed the islanders 10-0 away last year.

Guinea-Bissau: 7 pts Nigeria: 6 Sierra Leone (played four): 5 Sao Tome (played four): 1

Group B

Burkina Faso lead the way on nine points, but they only sneaked past bottom team Togo at home thanks to Abdoul Tapsoba's 87th-minute winner on Friday, and were far from convincing.

Nonetheless, with three wins on the bounce so far, they're overwhelming favourites to progress, and a draw would be enough if Cape Verde defeat Eswatini in Mbombela.

Burkina Faso: 9 Cape Verde: 4 Eswatini: 2 Togo: 1

Group C

With Kenya disqualified, Group C has become a three-horse race, with two out of Cameroon, Namibia and Burundi set to advance.

You wouldn't put it past this chaotic Cameroon selection to fall short, and indeed, they required a 72nd-minute equaliser from Olivier Kemen to deny Namibia a famous victory in Yaounde on Friday.

With Mamelodi Sundowns' Peter Shalulile having scored two in two so far, the Brave Warriors could take control of the group with a win in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Cameroon: 4 Namibia: 2 Burundi: 1

Group D

With comfortable 2-0 wins over Malawi and Ethiopia respectively, Egypt and Guinea are in control of the group, and both can qualify if they can take three points from the same opponents again this week.

Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah scored his 50th international goal and then registered an assist last week, and the Pharaohs are shaping up well as they look to bury the heartbreak of last year's defeat in the Nations Cup final.

Egypt: 6 Guinea: 6 Malawi: 3 Ethiopia: 3

Group E

Ghana got Chris Hughton's tenure as head coach off to a winning start when Antoine Semenyo struck in the 96th minute to dispatch Angola in Kumasi.

His risky move to overlook skipper Andre Ayew ultimately paid off, although the Nottingham Forest man injured his knee while walking back to the dressing room and hasn't travelled with the team to Luanda.

Defensive trio Denis Odoi, Mohammed Salisu and Alexander Djiku are all missing, leaving Hughton with some holes to fill in his backline.

Nonetheless, win away and Ghana are through, while the Central African Republic can fuel their hopes of a maiden qualification with victory at 'home' (in Cameroon) against Madagascar.

Ghana: 7 Angola: 4 Central African Republic: 4 Madagascar: 1

Group F

Algeria's three wins so far belie the fact that they've not had things all their own way so far. They required late goals to finally see off Uganda and Tanzania in their first two fixtures, and required an 88th-minute close-range winner from Riyad Mahrez to take maximum points from Niger at home in gameweek three.

They can secure progress against Niger in Tunis on Monday, while Uganda need a result away in Tanzania having been defeated 1-0 by the Taifa Stars -- and the excellent Simon Msuva -- last week. Lose in Dar es Salaam, and Uganda would be eliminated.

Algeria: 9 Tanzania: 4 Niger: 2 Uganda: 1

Group G

Mali, typically strong during qualification, are one of the five teams to still enjoy a 100-percent record, and they can secure progress against Gambia.

The Scorpions, by contrast, are struggling to ignite in this campaign following a maiden Nations Cup qualification in 2022, and when they host the Eagles in Casablanca, either South Sudan or Congo could tighten their grip on one of the top two spots.

Mali: 9 South Sudan: 3 Congo-Brazzaville: 3 The Gambia: 3

Group H

Only one side are set to progress from Group H, with the Cote d'Ivoire, who will already be present as hosts and beat Comoros 3-1, already taking part in the campaign.

Zambia defeated Lesotho 2-0 in Johannesburg on Sunday, with Patson Daka netting twice, to ensure the minnows are the first team eliminated from the group stage, and take a giant step towards the tournament.

The Chipolopolo have been Africa's great underachievers over the last decade, failing to qualify for the last three tournaments. However, unless Comoros take something from the Elephants in Moroni on Tuesday, Avram Grant's side will have an advantage heading into the pair's meeting at the Stade Omnisports de Malouzini in September.

Zambia (played four): 9 Ivory Coast (Hosts): 7 Comoros: 3 Lesotho (played four): 1

Group I

The tightest of all the groups, only four points separate Gabon -- in top spot -- and bottom-placed Democratic Republic of Congo.

Former Uganda boss Sebastien Desabre made an excellent first impression on the Lubumbashi public in his first full competitive international, having masterminded the Leopards' 3-1 thumping of Mauritania on Friday.

He'll be quietly confident he can drag the two-time champions back into contention when they face Mauritania away on Tuesday.

Gabon: 7 Mauritania: 4 Sudan: 3 DR Congo: 3

Group J

Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea are in command of the group, having both convincingly won their gameweek three fixtures, and will all but wrap up qualification with wins away at Libya and Botswana away on Tuesday.

The Carthage Eagles have been present for the last 15 tournaments, and it would take a remarkable capitulation for them to miss out here.

Tunisia 7 Equatorial Guinea 6 Libya 3 Botswana 1

Group K

Morocco became the first team to qualify on Friday, doing so without kicking a ball as Liberia battled back to draw 2-2 with South Africa in Johannesburg.

It made for a wonderful weekend for the Atlas Lions, who also became only the third African team ever to defeat Brazil when they dispatched the Selecao 2-1 in a friendly in Tangier.

For South Africa, the AFCON surely feels far away, as Bafana Bafana find themselves tied with Liberia on points but behind on goal difference. With Zimbabwe disqualified, it's a straight race between the pair to qualify alongside Morocco.

Even worse, morale appears at an all-time low following their collapse against the Lone Stars and head coach Hugo Broos's post-match meltdown, when he initially refused to speak to the media only to then relent, attend the press-conference, but refuse to answer any questions.

Bafana must now face Liberia away on Tuesday, although the only thing working in their favour is that they must face Morocco at home whereas Liberia still need to travel to North Africa in September.

Morocco (Qualified): 6 Liberia: 1 South Africa: 1

Group L

With three wins from three games so far, Senegal are making light work of a relatively straightforward group and they can secure qualification on Tuesday if they avoid defeat against Mozambique away.

Considering the reigning African champions crushed the Mambas 5-1 in front of their own fans this weekend, they are well placed to get over the line, particularly with Sadio Mane now back and firing.

Gernot Rohr's Benin picked up their first point of the campaign when Steve Mounie equalised eight minutes from time against Rwanda, and it's imperative they pick up where they left off in Butare.

Senegal 9 Mozambique 4 Rwanda 2 Benin 1