Aliou Cisse's men are favourites to make it through from Group B but must be wary of their opponents to avoid upsets en route to a potential fourth participation at the global showpiece.
African champions Senegal seek to secure maximum points this weekend to avoid a false start at the beginning of their ambition to play at the 2026 World Cup.
The Lions of Teranga are favourites to end atop Group B, even if DR Congo are expected to make progress complicated, and the latter began their campaign with a 2-0 triumph over Mauritania on Wednesday.
Cisse's men can only focus on themselves, starting with Saturday's encounter with South Sudan in Diamniadio, keen to move level with the DRC on three points.
The West African nation have won all but one home fixture under their manager in World Cup qualifying, a goalless encounter with Burkina Faso in September 2017, and the incumbent continental champions seek a continuation this weekend.
Failure to win puts the Lions of Teranga in a situation where they play catch-up after 90 minutes of action, an avoidable position if standards are matched.
As for South Sudan, they are unlikely to make it to the 2026 finals but could still make Group B fascinating by competing admirably.
South Sudan have never made it to a World Cup, an upshot of competing with nations with far superior talent, and that is not expected to stop this time, with the landlocked country one of the lowest-ranked sides in qualifying.
While this leaves them fighting a losing battle at Senegal, Cusin will hope his players are competitive at the weekend, even if they fall to an expected loss.
An absence of fight and doggedness risks a heavy defeat for the visitors, who are not fancied to end as one of the four best runners-up in the African section.
Despite his perceived flaws, four goals in his last two games for Chelsea could see Nicolas Jackson lead the attack on Saturday.
Sadio Mane is the undoubted star, and the former Liverpool attacker is expected to make his mark this weekend alongside other experienced heads like Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gueye and Edouard Mendy.
The away side have changed manager since their last competitive fixture — a 4-0 defeat by Mali in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying — but could lean on some of their top performers from AFCON qualification.
Senegal possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Fadiga, Diallo, Koulibaly, Jakobs; Gueye, Mendy, P. Sarr; I. Sarr, Jackson, Mane
South Sudan possible starting lineup:
Mawith; Lokosang, Toha, Manyang, Dhata; Gama, Dwang, Achol; Daniel, Yuel; Riak
We say: Senegal 3-0 South Sudan
Cisse's men are expected to secure a routine victory over South Sudan on Saturday, with the African champions possibly scoring a bucket load of goals.
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