Abel Xavier, coach of Mozambique
Monday Mar 25, 2019. 13:00
Mozambique national team coach Abel Xavier has apologised for their failure to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Mambas had a place at Egypt 2019 in their grasp as they led 2-1 away to Guinea-Bissau in their final Group K qualifier on Saturday. A win would have put them into the final 24-team field for the AFCON finals.
However, in injury time, Mozambique conceded an equaliser to Frederic Mendy to see the game finish 2-2.
This meant Guinea-Bissau ended top of the pool and were joined in qualification by Namibia, who lost a concurrent game 4-1 away to Zambia, but ended with the same points tally as Mozambique and were ranked ahead thanks to a superior head-to-head record.
"Obviously it was a lot of sadness that we missed the goal [of qualifying],” said Xavier after the match.
“Speaking concretely of the game, we had defined a strategy, I think we went very well in the game, we were dominant and the goal of Guinea Bissau starts from a harmless situation.”
The Mambas were trailing 1-0 at the break, but put up a fine second half performance, only to be denied at the death.
"The consequence of our dominant game was that we managed to equalise and we had more dominance and we managed to score [again, to take the lead],” noted the former Portuguese international.
He added, “I apologise for the failure of the objective and obviously I will analyse in a deeper way, because it was a very hard blow.”