Saturday Jun 17, 2023. 20:04
Zambia joined the list of teams which have secured qualification for the next Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), following their thrashing of Ivory Coast in the pick of matches played on Saturday 17 June 2023.
Zambia leapfrogged to the top of Group H and guaranteed a ticket to the finals thanks to emphatic display against the Elephants in Ndola this afternoon, with a first-half own goal from Serge Aurier and second-half strikes by Patson Daka and Kings Kangwa securing Chipolopolo a 3-0 triumph.
The Southern Africans – who won the continental title in 2012 – will return to the AFCON finals for the first time since 2015.
Also in the afternoon, Angola claimed a clutch 2-1 win away to 10-man Central African Republic in Douala (goals from the Palancas Negras’ Kialonda Gaspar and Milson sandwiched Geoffrey Kondogbia’s equaliser) to join Ghana on eight points at the top of Group E and put themselves within touching distance of qualification.
At the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, Comoros claimed a 1-0 away win over Lesotho (thanks to a late goal from Youssouf M’Changama) in a Group H match which had become academic thanks to Zambia’s earlier win.
In the early evening in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea defeated Tunisia 1-0 in a Group J match (thanks to a late penalty from Emilio Nsue) to join the Carthage Eagles in qualification for the AFCON finals, and at the same time, at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa defeated Morocco 2-1 in a Group K meeting of already-qualified teams.
South Africa found themselves 2-0 up thanks to an own goal from Munir Mohamedi and a tap-in from Zakhele Lepasa (early in the first and second half respectively) before Hakim Ziyech pulled one back for Morocco with a superb strike.
Wrapping up the early evening action was Botswana’s 1-0 win over Libya in Francistown in a Group J match. Gape Mohutsiwa struck on the cusp of half time to give the Zebras their first win, though both they and the Mediterranean Knights have been eliminated.
Saturday evening will also feature a Group L match between Benin and Senegal in Cotonou – the hosts are desperate to claim a win and bring themselves back into contention, while the Teranga Lions have already guaranteed top spot and qualification.
The AFCON qualifiers will continue on Sunday 18 June, with the key matches pitting Nigeria and Ghana against Sierra Leone and Madagascar respectively.
AFCON qualifying results, Saturday 17 June
Central African Republic 1-2 Angola
Zambia 3-0 Ivory Coast
Lesotho 0-1 Comoros
Equatorial Guinea 1-0 Tunisia
South Africa 2-1 Morocco
Botswana 1-0 Libya