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



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. 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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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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Nigeria’s AFCON 2025 fixtures almost in same pattern with World Cup qualifiers



Confederation of African Football (CAF)  has now released the full fixtures of the qualifying series for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations.

The fixtures for the Nigerian team is almost in the same pattern with that of the 2026 World Cup qualification which has seen the Super Eagles wobbling.

Like that of the World Cup, the Super Eagles will begin their quest for qualifcation for AFCON with a home game in Uyo as they will host Benin Republic.

As it was in the World Cup, they will then head to Rwanda. Last November, their second match was played in Rwanda which hosted Zimbabwe home match. This time the Super Eagles will be facing Rwanda, the same team they will meet when the World Cup qualification series resume in March next year.

On Match Day 3, the Super Eagles will host Libya and will have the reverse fixture immediately after that of Match Day 3.


Later they travel to Benin for Match Day 5 before hosting Rwanda on the last match day.

The Fixtures

  • September 2 – Nigeria vs Benin Republic; Libya vs Rwanda
  • September 6 – Rwanda vs Nigeria; Benin Republic vs Libya
  • October 11 – Nigeria vs Libya; Benin Republic vs Rwanda
  • October 16 – Libya vs Nigeria; Rwanda vs Benin Republic
  • November 11 – Benin Republic vs Nigeria; Rwanda vs Libya
  • November 15 – Nigeria vs Rwanda; Libya vs Benin Republic

The top two teams qualify for AFCON 2025

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Rohr roars warning to Benin; Nigeria, Rwanda will not be easy




Former Nigeria manager, Gernot Rohr now handling Benin Republic has warned The Cheetahs of Benin not to expect an easy match when the team meet Rwanda and Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month.

 Last month, he led his team to defeat both Rwanda and Nigeria in World Cup qualifying duels in Abidjan, where Benin Republic are compelled to play their home matches following inadequate facilities at home.

 Benin’s 1-0 defeat of Rwanda was Rohr’s first victory with the team. Days later, he followed up with a 2-1 defeat of Nigeria, the first Benin Republic victory in over 65 years.

 Those wins have put Benin in the frame of possible qualification for the World Cup. They are now to meet Nigeria and Rwanda again in World Cup qualifiers.


 It won’t be easy, remarked Rohr.  Hear the Franco-German as he spoke in French but translated into English for the Sports Village Square: “From September we will play against Nigeria before facing Libya and Rwanda.  

“These are three difficult opponents.  We had already played Rwanda and Nigeria but be careful, it’s not because we won Rwanda and Nigeria that it will be easy matches.

“ We know that it is possible to achieve good performances again.  We know that Nigeria with its great players will want to take revenge against us.

“ I think it will probably be an interesting match in Uyo before continuing against Libya.  I suppose in Abidjan because in September the Mathieu Kerekou friendship stadium  will not be ready.  

“Everything will be decided in three months in September, October and November.  It’s a difficult group but it’s playable.  


“You have to finish in the top two.  We had a team that is becoming solid, where the players are like brothers, accomplices.  I hope we will recover the players who were absent.  We are confident.”

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Coaches react after intriguing Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers Draw



The journey towards qualification to the  Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2025 shifted a gear higher on Thursday, after CAF officially conducted the draw of the qualifiers in Johannesburg South Africa.

A total of 48 nations will vie for the 24 places that will contests the 35th edition of Africa’s most prestigious competition.

This is what some of the coaches has to say in reaction to the draw outcomes.

Emerse Fae, Cote d’Ivoire coach

“I am satisfied because we are going to play against Zambia, a team that we know very well. In our last qualifying campaign, we lost against them. We know what mistakes to avoid.


“I am also satisfied because I did not want to have countries geographically far from Cote d’Ivoire which will lessen the travel load. That said, in Africa, there are no longer small teams. All the teams will want to challenge us because we are the reigning champions”

Leslie Notši

“The draw is very interesting because when you have the host in your group, it means they qualify automatically for the tournament, and you have to double your efforts to secure the remaining qualification spot which will be contested by the three other teams in the group.

“We will work very hard to see to it that we are competitive side and try as much as we can to get maximum points in matches against countries that are with us in our group. It will be very important to do well in our home games and I know all eyes will be on “Morocco as the hosts and a powerhouse in our group. We will draw inspiration from recent games where we played the likes of Nigeria as well as Cote d’voire and were able to frustrate them”

Amir Abdou, Mauritania Coach


“Quite a complicated draw. Egypt will be the big contender for qualification. They have a good track record that speaks volumes.

“Seven times African champions – that’s no small thing. We also have Cape Verde who eliminated us during the last AFCON.

“This team is made up of many quality players. We have Botswana, they are having a good qualifying campaign for the World Cup. We have a pretty strong group. It’s up to us to believe in ourselves. We will do everything we can to achieve our fourth participation in the AFCON”.

Kévin Nicaise, Chad coach

 “We are already having the reigning African champions facing the last qualified team in the FIFA rankings. These will definitely be very difficult matches played at high intensity. We will fight to defend our nation’s pride. The group remains relatively open, and we will approach these qualifications with humility and ambition”.


 Badou Zaki, Niger coach

“We have every chance of qualifying. For me, Ghana is a football country with a team that is blessed with great professionals. But this is not the team of 5 or 6 years ago. Even at home, they can lose.

“Angola had a good showing at the last AFCON with their beautiful, modern and fast football. It’s a team that shook up the big teams in Cote d’Ivoire.

“I know Sudan very well. They are first in their World Cup qualifying group. They are going to be dangerous, but we know our strengths and we know we can go far”


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