Cameroon makes Afcon knockout stage – who is likely to follow them?

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Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon scoring their second goal  during Cameroon against Ethiopia, African Cup of Nations. Photo: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon scoring their second goal during Cameroon against Ethiopia, African Cup of Nations. Photo: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

SPORT


With their 4-1 demolition of Ethiopia on Thursday night, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon roared into the knockout stage with a game to spare in their group.

Starting on Friday afternoon, this weekend’s fixtures will give a clearer picture of who among the competing teams in the 24-nation tournament stand a chance of joining the hosts Cameroon in the last 16.

Cameroon have already secured the top spot in group A by virtue of a better head-to-head. They defeated Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, and even if they were to lose their remaining match against Cape Verde, they will still top the group.

The top two teams across the six groups will advance to the knockout phase, with the best four third-placed sides completing the line-up.

Cameroon will meet one of the best third-placed teams to emerge from either group C, D or F. This puts the likes of Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone among the likely candidates.

This is how they line up this weekend and how the results will shape groups B and C in the race for berths in the last 16:

Senegal vs Guinea: 3pm

Another three points for Sadio Mané and his team Senegal will confirm a place for the Teranga Lions in the last 16.

However, it will not be easy for Mané, who will come up against his Liverpool team-mate Naby Keïta in a game that could determine which of the two sides will advance as group B winners.

The table-toppers will meet one of the best third-placed sides from either group A, C or D, depending on the final rankings.

Malawi vs Zimbabwe: 6pm

Today will also see the clash of southern region titans, as Malawi and Zimbabwe contend for a place in the knockout stage.

The two sides began their campaign with defeats on Monday – the Flames of Malawi lost 1-0 to Guinea, while the Warriors also went down to Senegal via a solitary goal.

READ: Tunisia protest dismissed amid claims that erratic Afcon ref Sizakwe suffered sunstroke

Neither of the two Cosafa members has made it out of the Afcon group stage before, with Malawi failing in two previous attempts at the 1984 and 2010 editions. Zimbabwe has also not advanced beyond the first round on four occasions – at the tournaments in 2004, 2006, 2017 and 2019.

Their game will pit a bunch of PSL-based players against each other, with Malawi’s Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango among the stars who are expected to feature.

In their last meeting, Zimbabwe fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Malawi in their Cosafa Cup group game in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, in July.

Morocco vs Comoros: 6pm

Another Cosafa representative, Comoros, also started on a losing note, despite a gutsy showing against Gabon in the islanders’ Afcon début on Monday.

The Atlas Lions of Morocco dare not underrate the Coelacanths, if the spirited football showcased by the Comorans is anything to go by.

However, like other teams who have picked up maximum points in their groups, Morocco need to tally another three to secure a spot in the last 16.

The group C winners will meet one of the best third-placed sides coming from either group A, B or F, depending on the final rankings.

Gabon vs Ghana: 9pm

Losing their opening game against Morocco makes this fixture a must-win for the Ghanaians.

However, the Black Stars will have their work cut out for them against a Gabon side who are set to welcome the return of their influential striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Arsenal player returned to training on Thursday following the end of his Covid-19 quarantine.

AFCON WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Nigeria vs Sudan: 6pm

Guinea-Bissau vs Egypt: 9pm

Sunday

Gambia vs Mali: 3pm

Ivory Coast vs Sierra Leone: 6pm

Tunisia vs Mauritania: 6pm

Algeria vs Equatorial Guinea: 9pm


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Daniel Mothowagae 

Deputy sports editor

+27 11 713 9001
Daniel.Mothowagae@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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