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Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

Africa Cup of Nations qualification: Winners & Losers

19:51 GMT 20/11/2019
Super Eagles celebrate - Nigeria vs Benin
Who were the winners and losers from the first two rounds of Afcon qualification?

  • Algeria AFCON

    Winners

    Algeria started the 2021 qualifying campaign as they ended the 2019 tournament, in rampant style, dispatching Zambia 5-0 with a four-goal flurry in the second half.

    They followed that up with a 1-0 victory against a tenacious—and somewhat cynical—Botswana side in Gaborone, with Youcef Belaili scoring the only goal of the game to complete a fairly flawless international weekend.

    Algeria end 2019 unbeaten—a superb record—and will look back on one of the finest years in the nation’s footballing history.

    Algeria started the 2021 qualifying campaign as they ended the 2019 tournament, in rampant style, dispatching Zambia 5-0 with a four-goal flurry in the second half.

    They followed that up with a 1-0 victory against a tenacious—and somewhat cynical—Botswana side in Gaborone, with Youcef Belaili scoring the only goal of the game to complete a fairly flawless international weekend.

    Algeria end 2019 unbeaten—a superb record—and will look back on one of the finest years in the nation’s footballing history.

     

  • Mohamed Salah Egypt

    Losers

    After a disappointing Afcon on home soil, in which Egypt were eliminated by South Africa in the Round of 16, it was imperative that the Pharaohs got off to a strong start in the qualifying campaign.

    Unfortunately, they weren’t able to manage it; they were pinned back by a Kenya side who lost two key players to injury during the first half, only taking a 1-1 draw in Alexandria, and were then held 0-0 by the Comoros in their second match.

    The North Africans have the quality to bounce back in the four qualifiers that remain, but it’s imperative they find solutions to break teams down when Mohamed Salah is absent.

     

  • Jordan Ayew, Ghana

    Winners

    Admittedly, Ghana weren’t particularly fluid as they defeated Sao Tome e Principe 1-0 away from home on Monday, but that triumph, coupled with their 2-0 victory over South Africa, made for a very satisfying start to the Afcon 2021 campaign.

    A home game against a Bafana side who reached the quarter-finals of the Nations Cup was never going to be easy, and Ghana deserve credit for taking control of the match in the first half through Thomas Partey before Mohammed Kudus marked his debut with an 80th-minute effort.

    Ghana aren’t the team they once were, no doubt, but this international break represented two banana skins successfully negotiated for the Black Stars.

  • Tapson Kaseba, Zambia, June 2019

    Losers

    As well as the aforementioned 5-0 thumping by Algeria, Zambia were also beaten Zimbabwe at home, with Khama Billiat scoring twice either side of Patson Daka’s goal.

    It’s a disastrous start to the qualifying campaign, particularly for a side who are desperate to reassert themselves after missing out on 2019.

    However, the tenure of Aggrey Chiyengi—replacement for the underwhelming Sven Vandenbroeck—couldn’t have got off to a poorer start, with Zambia shipping seven and now facing an uphill struggle to reach Cameroon.

  • Victor Osimhen Nigeria 2019

    Winners

    Like Ghana, Nigeria weren’t at their best during the international break, and in fact, they fell behind in both of their matches—against Benin and Lesotho.

    However, also like their West African rivals, they got the job done, bouncing back from both early setbacks to pick up a pair of victories.

    The six points are obviously a boost for the Super Eagles, but it will have been the performances of various young faces in the team—Joe Aribo, Samuel Chukwueze and, of course, Victor Osimhen, which will have particularly pleased Gernot Rohr.