Heavyweight bouts and a shock qualification await in Africa
The return of Africa Cup of Nations qualifying after a five-month absence throws up three heavyweight clashes this weekend, and the intriguing possibility of a first ever appearance at the continent's greatest sporting event for traditional minnows Botswana.
And although much attention will be cast towards the Chadian capital N'Djamena where a Botswana win would make the Zebras the first team to reach next January's finals, eyes will also be firmly focussed on Johannesburg, Annaba and Dakar.
In Senegal already, the inside of Cameroon coach Javier Clemente's head must be a fairly frazzled place at the moment - for the Spaniard has two fundamental issues to contend with as he prepares for Saturday evening's massive Nations Cup tie.
One prompts recollections of the 1990 World Cup, when a presidential decree from Paul Biya forced Roger Milla's inclusion in the squad - and we all know what happened next.
Amara Traore (centre), who was an unused substitute during Senegal's memorable 2002 World Cup display, has returned the good times thanks to a host of outstanding strikers
So now Clemente has two players in his squad that he wasn't originally keen on - yet there's still no place for Arsenal's Alex Song though, so the post-World Cup rumbles go on.
However, his other problem is surely even greater - how on earth he's going to deal with Senegal's awesome foursome.
Cisse has led or been near the top of the Bundesliga scoring charts all season, Sow does lead in France, Niang is second top striker in Turkey - while Ba has plundered four goals in five league games for the Hammers.
Between them, they've scored over 60 goals this season - so perhaps it's no surprise that Senegal are the top scorers in Africa so far, with 11 goals from just two matches.
An opening win in DR Congo was followed by a 7-goal drubbing of Mauritius to leave the 2002 World Cup quarter-finalists top of Group E, two clear of Samuel Eto'o's Indomitable Lions.
Victory at home on Saturday and the Senegalese - revitalised since Traore took charge - could establish a five-point lead with just three qualifiers left.
A similar scenario will be playing out in Johannesburg where South Africa can take a six-point lead over none other than the African champions if they beat Egypt on Saturday.
This is the big one for Bafana Bafana, who failed to qualify for the 2010 Nations Cup but who have been on an upward curve since coach Carlos Alberto Parreira steadied the ship when taking charge shortly before the World Cup.
Yet anything other than victory is likely to prove problematic for Pitso Mosimane's side, as a draw at Ellis Park would leave the Pharaohs, bottom in Group G, with the chance to draw level with the 2010 World Cup hosts when playing Bafana Bafana in Cairo in June.
As has been widely reported, the Egyptians are short of competitive action, with the league suspended because of the revolution, while a mooted training camp in Oman was cancelled.
Elsewhere, Algeria's home clash with North African rivals Morocco in Annaba should be tasty - with the Desert Foxes needing a spark to revive their fortunes, while the Atlas Lions should be a different beast under Eric Gerets.
Senegal are spoilt for choice, with Demba Ba one of four strikers in the goals this season
CAR are one of a number of surprise table-toppers, along with the likes of Cape Verde, Mozambique and Guinea, although Botswana stand out in Group K.
Having never come close to qualifying for the Nations Cup, the Zebras are a whopping six points clear - and stand on the verge of a historic qualification on Saturday.
It would be a remarkable feat for a country whose leading scorer Jerome Ramatlhakwane, with four goals, cannot even get a regular game with South African PSL side Vasco da Gama.
"This would be a big achievement for all of us and all followers of our team. We are not putting ourselves under any pressure - but the level of expectation back home is very high," admits coach Stanley Tshosane.
The Zebras' qualification would add some glorious technicolour to this qualifying round - and while these are the games I'll be following closely, let me know the match-ups which are grabbing you.