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Thursday, 03 December 2020

AFCON 2015 qualifiers: Who's up for the 6 remaining spots

Karim Farouk, Tuesday 18 Nov 2014
Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast's national soccer players celebrate their goal against Sierra Leone during their African Nations Cup qualifying soccer match at the Felix Houphouet Boigny stadium in Abidjan, November 14, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Ahead of Wednesday's final round of the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers, 10 nations have already secured their places in the Equatorial Guinea finals while more than 10 teams are in contention for the six remaining spots.

South Africa (Group A), Algeria (Group B), Burkina Faso, Gabon (Group C), Cameroon (Group D), Cape Verde and Zambia (Group F), Tunisia and Senegal (Group G) have sealed passage to the Nations Cup with one match to spare, joining hosts Equatorial Guinea.

The last round will not be short in competition though as the race remains wide open in most of the groups.

Group A: Nigeria have revived their hopes with successive wins over Sudan and Congo to move second with seven points, just ahead of Congo due to a better head-to-head record. The Super Eagles must secure a victory when they host South Africa to reach the Nations Cup at the expense of Congo, who will be away to already-eliminated Sudan.

Group B: Mali and Malawi are level on six points, but the former have a better goal difference. Mali are facing a tough task as they host group leaders Algeria, who have a 100 percent record in the qualifiers. Malawi will travel to play Ethiopia, who are out of the reckoning after garnering only three points.

Group D: Heavyweights Ivory Coast managed to recover from several setbacks to climb to the second place with nine points and will need a single point from their home game against group leaders Cameroon to go through. DR Congo (6 points) need to bag all three points against Sierra Leone, who have just one point from five games, and hope the Elephants slip up against Cameroon to beat them to the finals virtue of a better head-to-head record.  

Group E: The race is wide open as Ghana are in the lead with 8 points, one ahead of Uganda and Guinea and two clear  of bottom side Togo. The Black Stars need only a draw from their home game against Togo to book their ticket to Equatorial Guinea along with the winner of the Uganda-Guinea tie. All options are on the table.

In addition to those five automatic qualifying spots, as the top two teams of each of the seven groups qualify directly for the finals, the best third performers in all the groups will complete the 16-team tournament.

The selection comes as follows:

If two teams or more are equal in points, goal difference will be decisive. If goal difference is the same, the team that scored more will play in Equatorial Guinea.

Finally, if two teams are equal in scored goals, they should play a decider match.

The front runners for this place would be DR Congo (6 points) who host minnows Sierra Leone, Congo or Nigeria who both have seven points.

Egypt are third of Group G with six points and will fight for a win against Tunisia in Monastir, hoping results in other groups will go their way.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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