Association football excitement returned to the African continent as the final stages of the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations became clearer. With the World Cup just ending in Brazil, a lot teams on the continent showcased their class and potential of advancing in world football.
Lesotho Upsets Kenya
Very few expected Lesotho to go through to the next stage of the qualifiers, but the landlocked southern African nation managed to hold Kenya’s Harambee Star’s to 0-0 draw on Sunday in Nairobi. This was enough for Lesotho to go through on a 1-0 on aggregate. The only goal in the encounter was from Bushi Moletsane.
The shock loss led the Kenya Football Federation to fire the entire technical bench.
Lesotho will be placed in Group C with Angola, Burkina Faso, and Gabon.
Mozambique Edges Out Tanzania
Mozambique secured their 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations’ Group stage qualifiers spot after edging Tanzania 4-3 on aggregate.
After a first leg that ended in a 2-2 draw in Dar Es Salaam, Mozambique advanced with a 2-1 win. The Mambas of Mozambique got their goals through Josimar and Elias Domingues Pelembe, while Tanzania’s consolation goal came through Mbwana Samatta.
Mozambique goes through to Group F of the qualifiers, where Cape Verde, Niger, and Zambia await.
Uganda Beats Mauritania
A 10-man Mauritania battled visiting Uganda for a chance to advance, but a Robert Ssentongo goal in injury time for Uganda was enough to see the East Africans through.
After a barren goalless draw in the first half, the game came to life in the second half as Mauritania pressured the visitors for a chance to avert the 2-0 deficit in the first leg.
Uganda had ample missed chances toward the end of the game and their pressure paid off at the end.
With a 3-0 aggregate, Uganda advances in to Group E, which includes West Africans Ghana, Guinea, and Togo.
Malawi Gets Through on Penalties
Malawi beat Benin at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre. Malawi came in to the game trailing from the first leg in Coutonou.
A John Banda scissor kick goal put Malawi 1-0 up. This leveled the aggregate goals scored and a dreaded penalty shootout determined who advanced.
Stephane Sessegnon missed his penalty, giving an advantage to Malawi’s Flames.
After the game, Malawi’s Coach Young Chimodzi said, “This victory is for Malawians as we promised that the players will do their best to win the match taking advantage of a home ground.”
He guaranteed that his team will qualify from Group B, which includes Ethiopia, Algeria, and Mali.
Goals in the 55th and 60th minutes from Michel Ndahinduka and Meddy Kagere, respectively, gave Rwanda a 2-0 win on match day and leveled the teams on a 2-2 aggregate over the two legged games.
Penalties again decided who advanced in to the group stages. Patrick “Pappy” Sibomana scored the crucial penalty to give Rwanda a 4-3 win.
Rwanda is now placed in with Nigeria, South Africa, and Sudan in Group A
Botswana Beats Guinea-Bissau
Botswana rallied from behind to get a result in Guinea-Bissau. The 1-1 all draw was enough to see the southern African team advance. They qualified on a 3-1 aggregate.
Guinea-Bissau looked like they would win when they took the lead through Ivanildo in the 20th minute, but this was not to be as Botswana equalized through Jerome Ramatlhakwane.
Botswana will come up against Egypt, Tunisia, and Senegal in Group G.
Sierra Leone Qualifies on Seychelles’ Fears
With Seychelles withdrawing from a game with Sierra Leone due to the Ebola outbreak in the West African country, the Confederation of African Football confirmed Sierra Leone will advance to the next stage of the qualifiers.
Seychelles forfeiting the tie made sense since they were already trailing Sierra Leone by a 2-0 in the first leg.
Next Stage of Qualifiers
The top two from each group (7 groups in all) and the best third-placed team will progress to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Morocco.
The next round of qualifiers will commence in September and will conclude in November.