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Africa Cup of Nations 2023: Lots to play for in final round of qualifiers

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At the end of this qualifying round to be played this week, the 24 nations qualified for the  CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Côte d’Ivoire 2023 will be known. 

CAFOnline.com takes this opportunity to take a look at the latest clashes, with nine places still up for grabs at Africa’s biggest football spectacle next year.

Group A

Nigeria and Guinea Bissau are the two teams who will play in the Côte d’Ivoire tournament. The Super Eagles with 12 points and the Djurtus qualified on Matchday 5 of these qualifiers at the expense of Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe.

Qualified: Nigeria and Guinea Bissau

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Group B

Like Group A, the two qualifiers for Africa’s biggest football showpiece in Group B are already known. They are Burkina Faso (10 pts) and Cape Verde (10 pts). Togo and Eswatini remain on the sidelines.

Qualified: Burkina Faso and Cape Verde

Group C

In this three-team group, Namibia (5 points), Burundi (4 points) and Cameroon (4 points) are all within a good chance of qualifying. Cameroon and Burundi meet on 12 September, and if one of the two teams wins the other will be automatically eliminated.

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Group D

Current silver-medalists from the last edition Egypt, are through with 12 points and are joined by Guinea on 9 points. Both sides will be in Cote d’Ivoire at the expense of  Malawi and Ethiopia who fell short.

Qualified: Egypt and Guinea

Group E

Three teams for two slots. Ghana (9 points), Angola (8 points) and the Central African Republic (7 points) are still fighting it out for a place in Cote d’Ivoire.

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Madagascar, with 2 points, has been eliminated. Angola will play their qualifier at home against Madagascar with Ghana taking on the Central African Republic.

The Black Stars, leaders of the group, have nine points but could be eliminated on goal difference if Angola beat Madagascar and the Ghanaians lose in their home match in Kumasi.

Group F

Algeria have already secured a place in Côte d’Ivoire, with the second place to be decided between Tanzania and Uganda. The Taifa Stars travel to Annaba and the Fennecs will be hoping to end their qualifying campaign with a clean sweep.

Uganda must beat Niger and hope Tanzania slip up in Algeria. Even then, Uganda will need to have a more advantageous goal-average than Tanzania to qualify. Niger, who are fourth in the group, are out.

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Qualified: Algeria

Tied on points: Uganda and Tanzania

Group G

Mali (12 pts) qualified on the fifth day of the qualifiers while the second place will be decided between Gambia (9 points) and Congo (6 points). The Gambia host Congo on the final matchday. Congo must win to qualify, while a draw will suffice for the Scorpions. It should be noted that with three points South Sudan are eliminated.

Qualified: Mali

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Tied on points: Gambia and Congo

Group H

There is no suspense in Group H. Zambia (12 points) have qualified, as have hosts  Côte d’Ivoire (10 points). The Comoros (6 points) and Lesotho (1 point) will not be making the trip to the western tip of the continent.

Qualified: Zambia and Côte d’Ivoire

Group I

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Suspense guaranteed! Everything will come down to the final day in Group I.

DR Congo (9 points), Mauritania (7 points), Gabon (7 points) and Sudan (6 points), are all within reach of a ticket to Cote d’Ivoire.

The Leopards travel to Sudan and the Murabitounes to Gabon. A win for DR Congo against Sudan would confirm their qualification.

In the event of a draw, the two opponents will have to wait for the result between Gabon and Mauritania. In the other match, qualification will go to the winner between Mauritania and Gabon.

Group J

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In Group J, Equatorial Guinea (12 points) and Tunisia (10 points) have qualified, leaving Botswana (4 points) and Libya (3 points) on the sidelines.

Qualified: Equatorial Guinea and Tunisia

Group K

The three-team group has delivered its verdict. South Africa (7 points) and Morocco (6 points) have qualified, which sees Liberia missing out.

Qualified: South Africa and Morocco

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Group L

Senegal (13 points), the reigning African champions, have already qualified. The second spot will then be decided between Mozambique (7 points) and Benin (5 points).

The advantages somewhat sits with Mozambique who are at home against Benin, needing just a point to qualify. Rwanda who are on two points have been eliminated.

Qualified: Senegal

To be decided between: Mozambique and Benin

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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AFCON

BREAKING! Nigeria Football Federation is finished with Finidi

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Following the poor run of the Super Eagles in the on going qualifying series for the 2026 World Cup which has seen the Super Eagles languishing almost at the bottom of a group in which they were previously the favourites, the Nigeria football Federation (NFF) that they has relieved Finidi George as the head coach of the national team.

Rising from a crisis-managing meeting, the NFF announced that it has resolved to employ an expatriate Technical Adviser for the Super Eagles in the coming weeks, ahead of the AFCON qualifiers and the remaining FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

 The deduction is that the tenure of Finidi George has come to an end after two competitive matches as a substantive coach and two others in friendly matches as a caretaker coach.

Also, the NFF resolved to beef up its Technical Department with more qualitative hands. Equally, the Technical and Development Sub-Committee will be re-jigged with immediate effect.

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Struggling Super Eagles to know AFCON 2025 qualifying round opponents in three weeks

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It has not been a pleasant outing so far for the Super Eagles in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. They have another nine months to wait to reset their arsenal.

But while the World Cup qualifying series go on recess, attention now focuses on the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series.

In exactly three weeks’ time, the Super Eagles will know their opponents in the qualification race for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Next year’s finals, which will be the 35th edition of Africa’s flagship football championship, will be staged by Morocco.

Preliminary stage survivors Chad, e-Swatini, Liberia and South Sudan will join 44 others for the draw that will hold at the SuperSport studios in Johannesburg, South Africa in the afternoon of Thursday, 4th July.

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The 48 countries will be drawn into 12 groups of four teams each, with the top two teams in each pool qualifying directly to the finals in Morocco.

The first two games of the qualification series will take place in the FIFA window in September (2nd – 10th), with two other matches in the window in October (7th – 15th) and the final two games in the November window (11th – 19th).

Nigeria’s Super Eagles are the runners up at the last edition.

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Date and venue fixed for draw for Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2025 Qualifiers

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The journey to the  CAF Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2025 will resume with the draw for the Qualifiers on Thursday, 04 July 2024, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The draw will be conducted at SuperSport studios in South Africa at 14h30 local time (15h30 Cairo time, 12h30 GMT).

48 Nations, including the four winners from the preliminary round (Chad, Eswatini, Liberia and South Sudan) will be drawn into 12 Groups of four teams each to battle it out for places at the finals.

Headlining the confirmed Nations for the draw are reigning African champions Cote d’Ivoire joined by Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, DR Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini and Ethiopia.

Others include Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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The qualifiers are scheduled to kick-off in September 2024 to determine the first 24 nations that will compete for Africa’s biggest event, the  CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco in 2025.

Fresh from the thrills and successes of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 where the host nation defied all odds to claim their third title, a line-up of intriguing matches is expected for the journey to the 35th edition of the showpiece continental sporting event.

In attendance will be selected CAF legends, representatives of the participating teams, members of the Local Organising Committee for Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2025 amongst others.

-CAF

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