2013 African Cup of Nations: Preliminary Round Qualification

Before a ball was kicked in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Finals in Gabon & Equatorial Guinea, qualification for the 2013 Finals in South Africa had begun. On 15 January 2012 at the Estádio Nacional 12 de Julho, São Tomé and Príncipe played Lesotho in the Preliminary Round, 1st Leg and won 1-0 through a third minute penalty scored by Jair Nunes do Espírito Santo. A week later the 2nd Leg took place at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru where a 0-0 saw São Tomé progress to the First Round. In the other Preliminary Round game, Seychelles advanced after Swaziland withdrew for financial reasons.

With the tournament being switched to take place in the ‘odd’ years, it meant qualification for the 2013 Finals had to be a shortened process. Therefore instead of the usual Group stage to illicit the finalists, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) went for qualification on a knockout basis, with the following format.

Preliminary Round

  • Four lowest ranked teams.
  • 1st Leg: 15/01/12 – 2nd Leg: 22/01/12
  • Two teams progress to First Round (São Tomé and Príncipe & Seychelles)


First Round

  • Twenty six team who failed to qualify for 2012 Finals and the two Prelimanry Round winners.
  • 1st Leg: 29/02/12 – 2nd Leg: 15/06/12
  • Fourteen teams progress to Second Round


Second Round

  • Sixteen teams who competed in 2012 Finals and fourteen winners from First Round.
  • 1st Leg: 7-9/09/12 – 2nd Leg: 12-14/10/12
  • Fifteen winners join hosts South Africa in 2013 Finals.


Both legs of the First Round games between Egypt and Central African Republic will be played in June 2012 due to the Port Said Stadium disaster earlier this year. The results in the First Round 1st Leg games were as follows:

Burundi 2-1 Zimbabwe
Chad 3-2 Malawi
Congo 3-1 Uganda
Ethiopia 0-0 Benin
Gambia 1-2 Algeria
Guinea-Bissau 0-1 Cameroon
Kenya 2-1 Togo
Liberia 1-0 Namibia
Madagascar 0-4 Cape Verde
Rwanda 0-0 Nigeria
São Tomé and Príncipe 2-1 Sierra Leone
Seychelles 0-4 Congo DR
Tanzania 1-1 Mozambique


Apart from 4-0 wins for Cape Verde and Congo DR the remaining ties look to be still up for grabs. Many of the lower ranked teams more than held their own, with São Tomé and Príncipe (CAF ranking 45) winning 2-1 against Sierra Leone (13), the standout result. Also causing upsets were Burundi (41) who beat Zimbabwe (23), Chad (40) who emerged 3-2 victors over Malawi (22) and Congo (36) with a 3-1 win over Uganda (20). Of the ‘big-guns’, Algeria (3) emerged 2-1 winners in Gambia (30), so will expect to qualify with the home leg to come. Nigeria (8) had to settle for a 0-0 in Rwanda (26), whilst Cameroon (15) should make it through with a 1-0 lead and the home leg to come against Guinea-Bissau (44).

So as with the 2012 Finals, the 2013 qualification games are already throwing up some shocks. It makes the 2nd Legs in June 2012 something to look forward to. Who needs the European Championships?


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Posted March 5, 2012 by Editor in category "2013 Africa Cup of Nations

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