While Nigeria’s Olympic Eagles are still waiting till Tuesday evening in Asaba to know their fate, the Zambia team has become the first team to qualify for the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, the qualifying tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Zambians played a 3-3 draw away to Congo in Brazzaville on Sunday. That was on the back of a 2-1 win from the leg in Lusaka last week.
Thus, the Young Chipolopolo advanced 5-4 on aggregate. Not even the sending off of striker Fashion Sakala following a second yellow card on 77 minutes could hamper the ambitions of the Zambians, as they held on to confirm their place at the finals for the successive time after their debut four years ago in Senegal.
The Congolese went up Guy Mbenza went up after 18 minutes from the spot before Enock restored parity on 33 minutes. The visitors stunned the homers with their second on 51 minutes courtesy Sakala, his fifth of the campaign. Temopele Medina levelled matters on 75 minutes to put the Les Diables Rouges back into contention.
On 80 minutes, Gaius Makota made it 3-2 for Congo but Mwepu completed his brace with the decisive equalizer five minutes from time.
The final six places will be determined on Tuesday with the final tournament fixed for 8-22 November 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. The top three finishers will qualify to represent the continent at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
08.09.2019 Brazzaville Congo 3-3 Zambia (1-2)
10.09.2019 Bulawayo Zimbabwe vs South Africa (0-5)
10.09.2019 Setif Algeria vs Ghana (1-1)
10.09.2019 Tunis Tunisia vs Cameroon (0-1)
10.09.2019 Conakry Guinea vs Cote d’Ivoire (1-0)
10.09.2019 Asaba Nigeria vs Sudan (0-1)
10.09.2019 Bamako Mali vs Morocco (1-1)
*Team in bold through to the final tournament