Two AFCON slots to be decided on Saturday

Two AFCON slots to be decided on Saturday
Zainadine Chavango Junior of Mozambique controls possession during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying match between Senegal and Mozambique held at the Me Abdoulaye Wade Stadium in Diamniadio, Senegal on 24 March 2023 ©BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday Sep 09, 2023. 11:00

Two places at the next Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast will be decided on a busy Saturday of qualifying, which will have no less than eight matches played across the continent.

The key afternoon match sees Mozambique host Benin in Group L, with the Mambas and the Squirrels battling to join group winners and reigning AFCON champions Senegal in qualification for the 2024 finals.

Mozambique need only avoid defeat to qualify for the first time since 2010, while Benin must claim victory at Estadio do Zimpeto in Maputo if they are to book a first ticket since the 2019 tournament.

Mozambique coach Chiquinho Conde is hoping the talents of Sporting CP winger Geny Catamo help his team to achieve their goal: “He always had great technical quality and, as he is left-footed, when he started to take his first steps in football he was known as the ‘Messi of Maxaquene’, which in itself says of the quality demonstrated.”

Conde added, “Last season he played here against Benin in which he was on a high but then he went to Sporting to do the pre-season and had the bad luck to get injured, which delayed his integration. He missed half of the season and ended up being loaned to Marítimo. My wish is that the ailments do not penalise him again, because at 22 he is in an important stage of evolution.”

In the early evening, all eyes will be on Group I, where all four teams are still in with a shot of qualifying. Leaders DR Congo (9 points) will host bottom-of-the-log Sudan (6) at the same time that second-placed Mauritania host Gabon (both 7 points).

The Leopards and Al Murabitun, as both the hosts and teams occupying the qualification positions, will be favoured to secure their tickets, but this group has been wildly unpredictable thus far and it would be no surprise if there was further drama in the works.

Saturday wraps with three dead rubbers: Comoros (eliminated) v Zambia (qualified) from Group H; Morocco (qualified) v Liberia (eliminated) from Group K; and Senegal (qualified) v Rwanda (eliminated) from Group L.

AFCON fixtures, Saturday 9 September

Times CAT

15:00: Malawi v Guinea

15:00: Mozambique v Benin

18:00: Ivory Coast v Lesotho

18:00: Mauritania v Gabon

18:00: DR Congo v Sudan

21:00: Comoros v Zambia

21:00: Morocco v Liberia

21:00: Senegal v Rwanda


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