2019 AFCON Qualifiers Round up: A Weekend to Forget for Africa’s Heavy Weights Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Zambia
It was a weekend to forget for Africa’s heavy weights as the first qualifying round for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations kicked off on Friday 9th. All former African champions; Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, and Zambia suffered shocking defeats in their opening group matches in a round that will be remembered for its upsets.
Nigeria who has failed to qualify for the last two AFCON editions was the first victim as it hosted Baxter’s South Africa in the southern town of Uyo, on Saturday 10th. Without a win in any competitive game against the Eagles, the South Africans proved better of the sides, keeping their cool to hold off Nigeria to a nil-nil draw in the first half.
South Africa’s veteran and former Bournemouth striker Tokelo Rantie, then opened the scoring in the 55th minute before substitute Percy Tau sealed off the game late in the 82nd minute to sink the hosts in the Group E clash.
Heavy weights, Ivory Coast who had vowed to win in memory of former teammate Cheick Tiote, who collapsed and died in China last week, was also up for a surprise upset at home against Guinea.
Two goals from Seydou Doumbia were not enough to save the Elephants from their fellow West African counterparts in Bouake as Abdoulaye Sadio Diallo, France-based Francois Kamano, and man of the match Naby Keita, sealed a 3-2 win for Guinea to see off Ivory Coast in the Group H encounter.
Back in Ndola, 2012 winners, Zambia, suffered a stunning loss to Mozambique thanks to a late goal from Germany-based Stanely Ratifo. The Chipolopolo who had never lost a game to Mozambique at home, dominated for most of the game but couldn’t find a way past the Mamba’s stopper Victor Jaime Timana.
Mozambique had a chance to double its lead in stoppage time through Elias Pemba but goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene rushed out of his box to stop the Bidvest Wits winger.
Egypt was the last victim on Monday 12th in the final qualification match in Tunisia where a goal from Esperence’s Taha Yassine Khenissi in the 48th minute, was enough to separate the North African giants in the derby.
In other games, Senegal hammered Equatorial Guinea 3-0 in Dakar thanks to a double from Moussa Sow and a late goal from Everton’s Idris Guaye.
Malawi defended Gerald Phiri’s early free kick to give coach Ronny Van Geneugden the first win since he took over in April.
Burundi went top of Group C thanks to an impressive 3-0 win over South Sudan while group rivals Mali, had to fight back to get a 2-1-win courtesy of goals from Napoli’s Kalifa Coulibaly and Yves Bissouma.
Libya started its campaign strong by beating Seychelles 5-1 in Group E while Madagascar won 3-1 away to Sudan in Al-Obeid in Group E.
Sudan V/s Madagascar. 1-3
Senegal V/s Equatorial Guinea. 3-0
Malawi V/s Comoros. 1-0
Cameroon V/s Morocco. 1-0
Burundi V/s South Sudan. 3-0
Mali V/s Gabon. 2-1
Benin V/s Gambia. 1-0
Algeria V/s Togo. 1-0
Libya V/s Seychelles. 5-1
Nigeria V/s South Africa. 0-2
Ghana V/s Ethiopia. 5-0
Sierra Leone V/s Kenya. 2-1
DR Congo V/s Congo. 3-1
Zimbabwe V/s Liberia. 3-0
Ivory Coast V/s Guinea. 2-3
Central African Republic V/s Rwanda 2-1
Botswana V/s Mauritania. 0-1
Burkina Faso V/s Angola. 3-1
Niger V/s Swaziland. 0-0
Tunisia V/s Egypt. 1-0
Zambia V/s Mozambique. 0-1
Guinea-Bissau V/s Namibia. 1-0
Tanzania V/s Lesotho. 1-1
Cape Verde V/s Uganda. 0-1
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