Final Push for AFCON: Teams Battle for Coveted Tournament Spots

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The final round of qualifying matches for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is set to take place this week and weekend, with nine spots still up for grabs.

The AFCON tournament is scheduled to begin on January 13, 2024, with the final set for February 11, 2024. Here’s a look at how things stand in the various qualifying groups:

Group A

  • Guinea-Bissau vs Sierra Leone (September 6)
  • Nigeria vs Sao Tome and Principe (September 10)

Nigeria, three-time champions, have already secured qualification, but the final match against Sao Tome and Principe will determine who finishes top of the group, with Guinea-Bissau in the mix.

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Group B

  • Burkina Faso vs Eswatini (September 8)
  • Togo vs Cape Verde (September 10)

Burkina Faso secured their place in the AFCON finals back in March, while Cape Verde had to wait until June to qualify for their fourth Nations Cup in the last decade. Both Togo and Eswatini are playing for pride in their final games.

Group C

  • Cameroon vs Burundi (September 12)

Group C has both qualifying spots still up for grabs, as Kenya’s disqualification has complicated the group standings. Namibia currently leads the group but will be anxiously hoping for the match in Cameroon to suit their purposes. A draw could also be enough for Namibia, with the most goals in the group, to go through.

Group D

  • Egypt vs Ethiopia (September 8)
  • Malawi vs Guinea (September 9)

Seven-time winners, Egypt and Guinea have already qualified, leaving Malawi and Ethiopia to fight for pride.

Group E

  • Ghana vs Central African Republic (September 7)
  • Angola vs Madagascar (September 7)

Ghana, Central African Republic (CAR), and Angola are fighting for the two available places in this group, with Madagascar out of contention. CAR could qualify for the first time if they win against Ghana.

Group F

  • Algeria vs Tanzania (September 7)
  • Niger vs Uganda (September 7)

Algeria, two-time winners, secured their spot in March, leaving Tanzania and Uganda fighting for the remaining spot. Tanzania can qualify if they can stop Algeria, while Uganda need a win to have any chance of going through.

Group G

  • Mali vs South Sudan (September 8)
  • The Gambia vs Congo (September 10)

Mali secured their place last time out, leaving Congo and The Gambia to battle it out for the final spot. The Scorpions need just a point to go through, whereas a win for Congo would be enough to take them through.

Group H

  • Ivory Coast vs Lesotho (September 9)
  • Comoros vs Zambia (September 9)

Ivory Coast qualified automatically as hosts, and Zambia secured the sole available spot by beating Ivory Coast 3-0 last time out. Both teams can experiment in their final games.

Group I

  • Mauritania vs Gabon (September 9)
  • DR Congo vs Sudan (September 9)

All four teams in this group can still make it through. DR Congo appear to have the easiest task, needing to avoid defeat at home to qualify. Sudan must win away, while Mauritania and Gabon also have strong chances of reaching the finals.

Group J

  • Libya vs Equatorial Guinea (September 6)
  • Tunisia vs Botswana (September 7)

Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea are fighting for the top spot in this group, having sealed qualification already.

Group K

  • Morocco vs Liberia (September 9)

Morocco secured qualification after winning their first two matches. South Africa also qualified in March, leaving Liberia out of contention. Zimbabwe was disqualified due to a FIFA ban.

Group L

  • Mozambique vs Benin (September 9)
  • Senegal vs Rwanda (September 9)

AFCON defending champions Senegal won their opening four games to secure qualification. Benin were awarded three points when Rwanda fielded an ineligible player against them in March, increasing their points tally to five (5). Thus, Mozambique and Benin are fighting for the second spot. Rwanda can no longer qualify.

These final qualifying matches will determine the complete lineup for the 2024 AFCON in Ivory Coast, promising exciting and high-stakes football action in the coming weeks.

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