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2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

Road To Cameroon: AFCON 2019 Qualification Preview, Part One

2019 AFCON Qualifiers Preview, Part One

The ‘Road to Cameroon’ action resumes this week with a number of nations up against each other in the first leg of the third round qualifiers.

Ducor Sports makes a brief preview of the matches available on Wednesday and Thursday.

Ethiopia vs. Kenya Kick-off: Wednesday, October 10. 17:00 (CET), Bahir Dar Stadium, Bahir Dar City

The fact that Ethiopia shares a border with Kenya means that these two nations have been frequent foes over the years as they prepare to meet in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Tuesday.

The highly anticipated match will be played in Ethiopia’s City of Bahir Dar with a true mission of obtaining three points, that will enable both teams obtain some advantage, capable of creating some guarantee for the rest of the competition, ahead of a probable jam against Sierra Leone and group’s heavyweights Ghana.

Ethiopia and Kenya are coming off morale-boosting victories from round two of matches that were played earlier last month against Sierra Leone and Ghana respectively.

To beat Ethiopia, Harambee Stars will have to break a jinx that dates back to 12th October 2002 when Kenya last won an away match in the group stages of the AFCON qualifiers, 1-0 against Cape Verde.

afcon-qulifiers-preview2In an interview earlier today, Ethiopia coach Abraham Mebratu said that he is confident that they will get a positive result against a Kenyan side who have not been to the finals in 14 years.

“It is definitely going to be a very tough match but we are determined to beat Kenya at home since that will help us in the second leg match away in Nairobi. I have told my players nothing is impossible as long as they will give 100 percent.”

On his side, Kenya’s coach, Sebastian Migne, expressed optimism that Harambee Stars will give a good account of themselves.

“Of course it won’t be easy against Ethiopia since they are also equally strong, but my players are up to the task and I am confident we will get a positive result,” he said.

“We won against Ghana without our captain, it will be morale boosting for us to also win with him. He is one of our most experienced players and will be crucial for us against Ethiopia.”

A few players will be key for Kenya this afternoon, including goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, Victor Wanyama, Michael Olunga among others.

Ethiopia will be looking to the double threat of Panom and Kebede for goals as both forwards have a great understanding in attack and should be too much for David Ochieng and Erick Ouma.

Meanwhile, the Waliya Antelopes central defender Asechalew Tamene and veteran winger Behailu Assefa are racing against time to be fit for the encounter.

Zambia vs Guinea Bissau Kick-off: Wednesday, October 10. 17:30 (CET), Heroes Stadium, Lusaka

Zambia will attempt to secure their first win of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when they host Guinea Bissau in a Group K clash at the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.

The Sven Vandenbroeck’s coached side have struggled lately but look likely to bounce back with a slim win on Wednesday.

They are currently bottom of their group tied on 1 point with Namibia following a 1-1 with the latter on September 8 in Windhoek.

Currently, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique are joint leaders on 4points heading into match-day-three of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers

The Chipolopolo have a reputation as one of the teams in Africa to be reckoned with, having appeared 14 times in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, becoming runners-up twice in 1974 and 1994.

Both teams will be meeting each other for the second time in an AFCON qualifier after Chipolopolo drew 0-0 at home and lost 3-2 away en route to failing to qualify for the 2017 tournament.

Coach Vandenbroeck has already assured fans that Chipolopolo will be going for nothing but maximum points.

Zambia will definitely be depending on on-form duo of Shonga and Mulenga for the hunt of goals. The duo already has a great partnership at club level and should combine well to secure a win for the home side.

Congo vs Liberia Kick-off: Thursday, October 11. 16:30 (CET), Stade Alphonse Massemba-Débat, Brazzaville

afcon-qulifiers-preview3The Lone Stars of Liberia who have qualified only once for the Africa Cup of Nations are determined to get far this time round.

With a mixture of 13 foreign-based players and 7 local-based players, the George Weah-inspired squad is confident of beating the Red Devils of Congo led by Al Ahly’s forward Junior Makiesse.

The Thomas Kojo’s men will be coming into this match after a 1-1 draw at home against highly rated DR Congo in September.

Wydad Casablanca striker William Jebor will be expected to shine against Congo’s defense, led by Marvin Baudry and his counterpart Fernand Mayembo.

Congo have struggled for decades to revive their football after winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 1972 and falling into oblivion thereafter. They last qualified for the AFCON finals in 2000.

Going by head-to-head statistics between the two teams, the home side is favoured over their opponents as they have emerged victorious in their two previous matches. They claimed a 3-0 victory at home before winning 2-0 in Monrovia in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers.

Ghana vs Sierra Leone

The match between the two nations, scheduled for Thursday, hangs in the balance after FIFA suspended Sierra Leone from international football citing government interference in the running of its national federation.

Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) has been trying to sort the matter out and get the ban lifted by having meetings between the government in the last few days.

The world football governing body has already set a deadline of Tuesday 16:00 GMT for SLFA president Isha Johansen and General Secretary Christopher Kamara to be reinstated by the government for the Leone Stars to honor their match against Black Stars.

If the West African nation will bring back the two into office, the match will likely be shifted to Thursday, 11 October 2018, as FIFA has promised that their Bureau of the Council meets for approval of the suspension.

Meanwhile, Ghana’s Black Stars players are in Kumasi preparing for the match should Sierra Leone meet FIFA’s requirements and get the ban lifted.

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