Africa Cup of Nations qualifying: What’s still at stake?

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  1. Zaidu Sanusi, Victor Osimhen, Henry Onyekuru - Nigeria/ Super Eagles

    Can Nigeria end the campaign in style?

    The Super Eagles wrapped up qualification with two matches to spare on Saturday, with their place in Cameroon assured before a ball had been kicked against Benin.

    They duly went on to beat the Squirrels thanks to a last gasp goal by Paul Onuachu, but fans remain unconvinced that Gernot Rohr is getting the best out of these troops.

    Perception is critical, and a strong conclusion to the campaign against tiny Lesotho in Lagos will be an ideal way of putting a good spin on a troubled qualifying programme and ensuring they have the wind in their sails as they head to the Nations Cup.

  2. Nigeria vs Benin

    Benin or Sierra Leone?

    Also in Group L, only one of Benin or Sierra Leone can advance to the Afcon along with Nigeria.

    They meet in Freetown on the final day of the campaign, with both still firmly in the running to reach Cameroon.

    While Benin have seven points and Sierra Leone only four, the Leone Stars will know that a victory of any kind will be enough for them to leapfrog the Squirrels into second place.

    If Sierra Leone win and score more than one, they advance on head to head.

    If they win 1-0, then they still advance by virtue of having scored more goals in the group campaign than their rivals.

  3. Juary Soares of Guinea-Bissau

    Central African playoff

    Another direct playoff comes in Group I, where Guinea-Bissau and Congo-Brazzaville go toe to toe for a spot in neighbouring Cameroon.

    Both will be desperate to take part in this Central African showpiece, and their meeting in Bissau will be cagey and tense affair.

    Congo have the advantage, they’re on eight points to Guinea-Bissau’s six, but while they’ll know the draw favours them, for the hosts it’s simple—win and they’re through.


  4. Madagascar

    Ethiopia or Madagascar?

    Despite beating the Ivory Coast 2-1 in November 2019, Ethiopia’s defeat by Niger in Niamey means that they’re still not assured of qualification as they seek to return to the Afcon for only the second time since 1982.

    Similarly, Madagascar, despite some encouraging results in qualification, must still prove that they can build on their maiden Afcon appearance in 2019 and reach the tournament again.

    The islanders need to beat Niger at home to give themselves any chance of progression; even if they do that, Ethiopia still advance with anything other than a defeat against the Elephants in Abidjan.

    If Ethiopia lose against the Ivorians, and Madagascar beat Niger, the Barea pip the Walias to Cameroon.


  5. Tanzania vs Burundi friendly.

    Who progresses alongside Morocco?

    The Atlas Lions have already sewn up qualification from Group E, but will it be Mauritania, Burundi or the Central African Republic who advance alongside them?

    Mauritania (six points), in second, will progress with a win away in Bangui, and even if they draw, they will only miss out if Burundi (five points) win away in Morocco.

    If the Central African Republic win, then they progress unless Burundi win in Rabat, while for Les Hirondelles, it’s simple…only a win against Morocco will keep them in the running.

  6. Dominique Savio Nshuti of Rwanda challenged by Abdelkarim Baadi of Morocco.

    Who joins Cameroon?

    Cape Verde, Rwanda and Mozambique are in a three-way tussle to qualify from Group F, where Cameroon, as hosts, are already guaranteed a spot in the tournament.

    Cape Verde are in the driving seat, and they’ll know that a draw away at Mozambique will be enough to secure progress…unless Rwanda win by four goals away in Cameroon.

    Either way, Rwanda need to win and realistically hope that Mozambique defeat Cape Verde, while Os Mambas must defeat the Sharks at home and hope that Cameroon don’t fall to the Amavubi.