Sierra Leone Qualify For AFCON After 25 Years
Sierra Leone have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 1996 after beating Benin in their final 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier played at the Stade Général Lansana Conté in Guinea capital, Conakry on Tuesday.
Their 1-0 victory secured their place at next year’s finals in Cameroon after clinching the second Group L spot.
Twenty four teams will compete at next year’s tournament, which runs from 9 January to 6 February in various cities of the central African nation.
Benin’s Djiman Koukou looked keen to open the deadlock inside the first 10 minutes from a corner-kick, but his header sailed over the crossbar from close range.
Steve Mouine missed a big chance from a defensive error on the 15th minute to put the visitors ahead, as he miscued a loose ball and resultantly let the chance slip.
Sierra Leone begun to come and alive with handball from Oliveier Verdon on the 18th minute giving Loene Stars a penalty, which Kei Kamara converted.
Benin had an opportunity to restore parity on the 26th minute when a Samadou Nourou cross from the right was controlled on the chest by Jodel Dossou, but his volley from close range went narrowly wide of the target.
A minute later the play swung to the other end of the park with Augustine Williams letting fly with a low shot from the edge of the box, but his effort skimmed the wrong side of the post.
Sierra Leone went into the halftime break with their one-goal lead, which was also largely down to Mohammed Kamara, who pulled off a couple key saves.
The second half proved to be a dull affair , despite Benin chasing the game and the first and only clear-cut chance of the half arrived in 76th minute when Steve Mounie’s effort sailed just over the crossbar.
Michel Dussuyer’s side continued to search for an equalizer in the closing minutes, however they could not bypass a resolute Sierra Leone defence.
Senegal, Tunisia ,Algeria, Mali ,Burkina Faso, Guinea, Comoros, The Gambia, Gabon, Egypt, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sudan, Malawi, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde booked their places in March for the continent’s premier tournament.