AFCON 2015: Algeria set to qualify, Nigeria in tatters

AFCON 2015: Algeria set to qualify, Nigeria in tatters

Sunday, October 12, 2014 1:45 pm

Top-ranked African football nation Algeria are on the verge of qualifying for the 2015 Cup of Nations just halfway through the qualifying competition.

The Desert Foxes have a maximum nine points from three matches and a home win over Malawi Wednesday will guarantee a place at the 16-team tournament next January.

But defending champions Nigeria are in serious trouble with a shock loss to Sudan leaving them with just one point from a possible nine and a tricky trip to Congo Brazzaville ahead.

Mikel Obi tries to stop Sudan's Muhammed Al Tahir

Mikel Obi tries to stop Sudan’s Muhammed Al Tahir

Group winners and runners-up qualify for the January 17-February 8 finals along with the best third-place team from the seven mini-leagues.

AFP sport takes a group-by-group look at the race to join hosts Morocco at the biennial African football showpiece.


(South Africa 7 pts, Congo 6, Sudan 3, Nigeria 1)

South Africa have exceeded expectations with a much-changed side under new coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba winning in Sudan and Congo and drawing at home against bogey side Nigeria.

Away to Congo in intimidating Pointe-Noire this weekend, Mashaba demonstrated his belief in youth by choosing 17-year-old Rivaldo Coetzee ahead of experienced defender Tefu Mashamaite.

Crazy form makes predicting a lottery, but the mid-November Congo-Nigeria clash is sure to have a big bearing while South Africa are almost there.


(Algeria 9, Mali 6, Malawi 3, Ethiopia 0)

No surprises here with Algeria continuing the good form they showed at the World Cup in Brazil four months ago.

Algerian  celebrating a feat

Algerian celebrating a feat

The Desert Foxes took eventual champions Germany to extra time in the second round and a coaching change with Frenchman Christian Gourcoff replacing Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic has been seamless.

Mali look set to join Algeria with Malawi lacking consistent scorers and Ethiopia slipping backwards after ending three decades in the doldrums by reaching the 2013 tournament.


(Gabon 7, Burkina Faso 6, Lesotho 2, Angola 1)

Angola have been a major disappointment with a 3-0 home loss to Burkina Faso last month all but derailing hopes of a sixth consecutive Cup appearance.

The Black Antelopes have not scored in three matches and a communications mix-up with Manucho meant the Spain-based striker missed a woeful goalless draw in Lesotho.

Burkina Faso, runners-up to Nigeria in 2013 after entering the tournament as no-hopers, have two home games to come and could pip Gabon for top spot.


(Cameroon 7, Ivory Coast 6, DR Congo 3, Sierra Leone 1)

Cameroon have laid a disastrous World Cup campaign to rest with impressive wins over the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast preceding a draw against Sierra Leone.

German coach Volker Finke axed 13 of the Brazil squad, controversial captain Samuel Eto’o retired and Alex Song has been ignored after serving a three-match ban.

Winning in DR Congo this weekend means Ivory Coast are back on track to fill the other qualifying slot.


(Ghana 5, Uganda 4, Guinea 4, Togo 3)

Ghana were expected to dominate this mini-league with the other three sides fighting for the runners-up position.

But the Black Stars are now part of the scrap, with a squad that looks powerful on paper but has won just once in three outings.

Unpredictable Togo upset Uganda in Kampala this weekend and if they can win the return match and defeat Guinea in Lome during November, a finals place is on the cards.


(Cape Verde 6, Mozambique 5, Zambia 2, Niger 2)

Cape Verde Islands proved a quarter-finals place last year was no fluke by winning away to Niger and at home to 2012 champions Zambia.

The Blue Sharks lost in Mozambique, but winning the reverse fixture in Praia Wednesday will leave them well positioned for a second Cup appearance.

Who joins them is intriguing with the Mozambique-Zambia southern Africa derby in Maputo next month sure to have a major influence.

Toure and kalou for Ivory Coast during last World Cup qualifier

Toure and kalou for Ivory Coast during last World Cup qualifier


(Senegal 7, Tunisia 7, Egypt 3, Botswana 0)

Record seven-time champions Egypt remain in trouble despite a 2-0 victory in Botswana with Mohamed El-Nenny scoring a memorable long-range goal.

A Pharaohs team in transition must collect three more points when the teams square off again in Cairo Wednesday.

But Senegal and Tunisia, who displayed impressive defensive organisation to force a goalless draw in Dakar, remain favourites to progress from the ‘group of death’.

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