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Kudus inspires Ghana to clinch AFCON qualification, Angola secure spot

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Ghana booked their place at the Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023, after a dramatic 2-1 comeback win over Central African Republic on Thursday.

Trailing to Louis Mafouta’s first-half goal in Kumasi, the Black Stars were staring elimination in the face.

But West Ham’s Mohammed Kudus stepped up to curl home a vital free-kick just before the break to level the scores.

The 23-year-old’s clutch intervention sparked wild celebrations as qualification edged closer.

The midfielder was mobbed by teammates after sparking wild celebrations from the home fans.

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Ghana completed the turnaround late on when substitute Ernest Nuamah tapped home to make it 2-1.

The victory saw Ghana top Group E, with Angola joining them in qualifying after a 0-0 draw with Madagascar.

The results means Central African Republic finish third despite leading just before half-time of the game in Kumasi

They will be devastated to miss out on a first ever Nations Cup appearance after being ahead at half-time.

But Chris Hughton’s Ghana side ultimately got the job done to book their place at next year’s finals in Cote d’Ivoire.

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Kudus, who recently joined West Ham from Ajax , proved the hero with his equalising free-kick.

Meanwhile, Angola secured their return to the  Africa Cup of Nations after holding Madagascar to a 0-0 draw in the group’s other game on Thursday.

Needing just a point to finish second in Group E, the Palancas Negras comfortably held on to book their spot.

It means Angola will feature at their first AFCON since 2013 after missing the last three tournaments.

Their resilience frustrated a Madagascar side who needed a win to stand any chance of qualifying.

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The result also eliminated Central African Republic, who were hoping to stun the group winners Ghana.

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

Thank you, Morocco!

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

The President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Dr. Patrice Motsepe has expressed deep gratitude to the Kingdom of Morocco, the country that has bailed out the confederation and many African countries by hosting most of the football events.

The Africa Cup of Nations 2025 as well as the women’s edition will be hosted by the North African country.

An appreciative Motsepe remarked: “I am confident that the CAF TotalEnergies AFCON Morocco 2025 will be extremely successful and will be the best AFCON in the history of this competition.

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“I am also impressed by the enormous growth of Women’s Football in Africa and I am expecting the CAF TotalEnergies WAFCON Morocco 2024 to be immensely successful.

“ We will continue to make significant progress in developing and ensuring that African Football is globally competitive and amongst the best in the World.

“CAF is grateful to King Mohamed VI of Morocco, the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Football (FRMF), its President Fouzi Lekjaa, the Government and people of Morocco for hosting the CAF TotalEnergies AFCON Morocco 2025 and the CAF TotalEnergies WAFCON Morocco 2024.”

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AFCON

Why it took us a long time to announce AFCON & WAFCON dates – CAF

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Liberia and Eswatini take control of AFCON preliminary ties

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed the earlier dates of the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations announced by Sports Village Square Friday afternoon.

As reported, the Africa Cup of Nations will run from 21 December 2025 to 18 January 2026 while the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for this year also in Morocco will hold from 5 to 26 July 2026, suffering a year postponement.

According to a press statement by CAF, the announcement of the dated took much longer than expected, “as there were complex and at times challenging discussions with various interested parties, in the light of the extensive International and Domestic Match Calendars.”

Continuing, CAF stated that it is “committed to protecting and advancing the interests of African players, playing in football clubs in Europe and worldwide. CAF is also committed to building mutually beneficial relationships with the ECA, UEFA, other Football Confederations and FIFA.”

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AFCON

EXCLUSIVE: AFCON 2025 now to run across two years

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CAF Enters Negotiation With FIFA, Morocco And European Clubs Over AFCON 2025 Timing -

At last a date has now been fixed for the Africa Cup of Nations 2025 slated for Morocco. Sports Village Square has gathered that the championship will now hold from 21 December 2025 to 18 January 2026.

That is one of the decisions taken by the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF)  which held a virtual meeting about two hours ago.

The confederation has been having headache over the timing of the tournament which initially was scheduled for the January-February calendar. That period proved impossible owing to congested fixtures that has scuppered the qualifying series.

Available windows are already taken up by the qualifying series for the 2026 World Cup making it impossible for the 24 finalists for the AFCON 2025 to emerge before January 2025.

Morocco proposed the tournament for the summer of 2025, but the inaugural 32-format FIFA Club World Cup of 2025 has made that impossible.

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Other worries of CAF include the timing for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco this year which is yet to get a date and the annual Women’s Champions League which till now has no hosts let alone a date.

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