Zambia's amateurs were held to a 1-1 draw by Tanzania in Bouake, northern Ivory Coast, while Senegal played out a goalless draw with disappointing hosts Ivory Coast in Abidjan.
The Copper Bullets thus finished top of the group on five points, same as Senegal but with superior goal difference.
Tanzania were third with four points while Ivory Coast finished bottom with a point.
On Wednesday, Zambia will tackle the second-placed team in Group B in one of the semi-finals of the competition, while Senegal face the winner of Group A.
Both Senegal and Ivory Coast blamed poor marksmanship for the 0-0 draw in Abidjan.
“I apologise to all Ivorians for the disappointing performance of my team at this tournament. Against Senegal, we did our best but we lacked a potent striker who could bury the chances," said the Ivory Coast coach, Georges Kouadio.
“Lack of strikers is a general problem in this country, because the best players always leave for Europe and other parts of Africa very early."
The Senegal coach, Joseph Koto, said: “Our target was the semi-final and we have achieved that. My team’s problem is playing on the offensive. I tried to change the tactics in the second half, but the goals never came.”
The Ivory Coast would have scored their first goal of the competition in the 75th minute only for Diomande Aboubacar to be denied by the post.
Earlier in the first half, Senegal midfielder Badiane Vito was also unlucky as he saw his goal-bound shot crash against the post.
Samm Audu, Goal.com