The African national teams are currently involved in Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying with home and away ties which will weigh heavily in deciding qualification groups, with the eventual final standings set to determine the teams that will take part in the Nations Cup in early 2017.
There are many fixtures taking place, with some of Africa’s best national teams involved in the campaign in an effort to earn their ticket to Gabon and a chance to be champions of Africa.
Here are a few of the key ties that will be taking place in the coming days:
The Black Stars of Ghana will face off against Southern Africa’s Mozambique in a tie that will likely favour the West Africans over two matches. The Ghanaians have serious pedigree and experience when it comes to these crunch ties, and the talent that is present in their squad will carry them through against the Mambas. The Mozambicans are fighters on the pitch, but their work rate cannot match that of Ghana, and the Ghanaians may emerge with six points from the two matches.
One of the most anticipated matches of this qualifying stage is the open affair between Nigeria and Egypt, with the Pharaohs desperate to return to former glories, while the Super Eagles have to make up for missing out on the 2015 event. Both teams have the backing of heavily passionate fans that are expecting the best from them, but the stakes are too high, and one of these giants of the African game will bow to the other as the qualification continues, though many predict draws and shared spoils in the two games.
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The current African champions continue their surge towards a chance to defend their title in Gabon with two games against Sudan. The Sudanese have nothing to lose, as they are not expected to get the better of the Ivorian Elephants, but the champs must not underestimate the abilities of the underdogs, especially when they are on home ground. Cote D’Ivoire will be expecting to wrap up all six points in these back to back games.
The Carthage Eagles will welcome Togo to Tunisia in the first of their two matchups, and it is in that opening game that the North Africans are expected to defeat the Togolese. Once again, early goals and sustained pressure will be crucial to a successful game for the Tunisians, while the Togolese will not have defeat in mind, attacking in an effort to shake things up and take points from the Carthage Eagles.
The Algerians do not have an easy task ahead of them, with Ethiopia hoping to surprise the North Africans in back to back matches. The Fennec Foxes remain one of Africa’s best national teams, and will likely have the upper hand in both games. Algeria is expected to be too strong for their opponents, but away matches in Ethiopia are tricky games for any African team to negotiate, so the second encounter could throw up a surprise.
Bafana Bafana find themselves drawn in a group alongside one of Africa’s best, with a great deal of history falling in favour of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. The first encounter is in Central Africa, and the South Africans could surprise with a new ability to do well away from home. Cameroon are not the same powerhouse that they once were, but with skilled players in various departments and the weight of their fans on their shoulders, they would be expected to take three points at home. The second match in SA could see Bafana earn a victory.
Other AFCON Qualifying Fixtures
South Sudan 1 – 2 Benin (1st leg result)
Chad 0 – 1 Tanzania (1st leg result)
Sao Tome and Principe 2 – 1 Libya (1st leg result)
Zambia 1 – 1 Congo (1st leg result)
Guinea-Bissau 1 – 0 Kenya Bissau (1st leg result)
Madagascar vs C.A.R.
Comoros vs Botswana
Mali vs Equatorial Guinea
Djibouti vs Liberia
Swaziland vs Zimbabwe
Gabon vs Sierra Leone
Mauritania vs Gambia
Guinea vs Malawi
Mauritius vs Rwanda
Seychelles vs Lesotho
Burundi vs Namibia
DR Congo vs Angola
Cape Verde vs Morocco
Burkina Faso vs Uganda
Senegal vs Niger