2013 Africa Cup of Nations: Second Qualifying Round (Second-Leg)

The final games to confirm the fifteen qualifying teams joining hosts South Africa in January 2013, took place over the weekend of Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October 2012.

There were two big aggregate wins from the fifteen matches. The first saw Mali (CAF ranking 3) already 3-0 ahead from the First Leg, complete a 7-1 aggregate win with a 4-1 victory over Botswana (34) in Lobatse. In the second, Liberia (27) and Nigeria (13) had played out a 2-2 draw in Paynesville. However, in the Second Leg it was never a close affair. Efe Ambrose scored in the opening minute and Ahmed Musa put Nigeria two up and in control before the break. Chelsea forward Victor Moses got a brace in the second-half, with goals from fellow Blue John Obi Mikel and Ikechukwu Uche ensuring a 6-1 victory for Nigeria.

However, there were two games which created the most headlines. Côte d’Ivoire (1) went into the Second-Leg fixture in Dakar with a 4-2 lead and put the tie further beyond Senegal (15) with two goals from Didier Drogba. However, when the second goal (a penalty) was scored, violence erupted in the stadium. With players and some fans seeking refuge in the centre-circle the game was suspended and CAF allowed the result to stand with Côte d’Ivoire progressing 6-2 on aggregate. The other game which received a great deal of attention, saw Cameroon (16) lose 3-2 on aggregate to Cape Verde (10). Cape Verde had a 2-0 lead going into the game at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé and went further ahead in the tie with a goal from Nhuck on twelve minutes. Achille Emana got one back for Cameroon ten minutes later, but they were unable to break down Cape Verde until a goal from Fabrice Olinga in time added-on gave Cameroon a 2-1 win on the night, but on aggregate missed out on the Finals again.

There were also a number of other teams who caused upsets as lower ranked sides “put one over” on those above them. Niger (42) had lost their First-Leg game against Guinea (12) 1-0, but in the return game in Niamey, two second-half goals saw Niger through with Chikoto Mohamed and Issoufou Boubacar Garba, the goal-scoring heroes. Togo (24) had drawn 1-1 with Gabon (8) ahead of the Second-Leg game. At the Stade de Kégué in Lomé, Togo went ahead through Dové Wome, a lead that was doubled with an effort from Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor. 2012 Co-hosts Gabon threatened to get back into the tie with a goal on eighty minutes from ex-Hull City striker Daniel Cousin. However, Togo held on for a 3-2 aggregate win. Burkina Faso (23) lost 1-0 to the Central African Republic [CAR] (9) in Bangui and found themselves 2-0 down on aggregate when David Manga opening the scoring for CAR in the Second-Leg. However, Alain Traoré pulled a goal back on eighteen minutes and the tie was level just before half-time through a Moumouni Dagano penalty. The incredible comeback was complete by Burkina Faso when in time added-on, Alain Traoré got his second to send the home fans into wild celebration.

Three games were decided by the away-goals rule. Facing a 3-1 deficit from the First Leg, Angola (20) overcame Zimbabwe (21) after two goals from Manucho in the opening ten minutes in Luanda levelled the tie at 3-3. Having drawn 2-2 against Sierra Leone (14), Tunisia (7) were always going to be favourites to take this tie, but they had to settle for a 0-0 to see them through. Sudan (29) lead 5-3 going into the game against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa and at half-time must have thought a place in the Finals was a real possibility with the score at 0-0. However, goals from Adane Girma and Saladin Said gave the advantage to the Ethiopians.

One game was not able to be settled by away-goals and that involved Zambia (6) and Uganda (22). Having won the First-Leg 1-0, the holders Zambia found themselves behind in the Second-Leg, when Geofrey Massa put Uganda ahead in the first-half. However, neither side could find a decisive goal, and it took penalties to separate the teams, with Zambia emerging 9-8 winners and so progressing to defend their title in South Africa in January 2013.

Elsewhere, Ghana (4) completed a 3-0 aggregate win over Malawi (26) and Algeria (2) went through by the same margin against Libya (11). Congo DR (30) were 4-0 up from the First-Leg against Equatorial Guinea, and despite a 2-1 loss in Malabo, went through 5-2 on aggregate. Morocco (18) had the comeback of the round over Mozambique (28). The Moroccans were 2-0 down before the return game in Marrakech. Abdelaziz Barrada gave Morocco a 1-0 half-time lead, but had to wait until the sixty fourth minute when a penalty from Houssine Kharja levelled up the tie. Youssef El-Arabi put Morocco ahead with five minutes to go and a 4-2 aggregate win was sealed with a goal in time added-on from Nordin Amrabat.

The sixteen teams who will take part in the Finals in January 2013 are as follows:

Algeria Angola Burkina Faso Cape Verde
Congo DR Côte d’Ivoire Ethiopia Ghana
Mali Morocco Niger Nigeria
South Africa Togo Tunisia Zambia


They now await the draw (which takes place on 21 October 2012) to see how the Groups will look for the Finals in South Africa.

[Note: CAF Ranking as at 03 October 2012]

Orange Africa Cup of Nations – Friday 03 February 2012

After a two day break the action resumes on Saturday, when the first two Quarter-Finals take place and will see Zambia v Sudan (in Bata) and Ivory Coast v Equatorial Guinea (in Malabo). Sudan and co-hosts Equatorial Guinea are the two lowest ranked teams in the competition and would not have expected to have made it this far. However, Sudan will feel they have a chance of causing an upset when they meet Zambia, but will have to contain two useful strikers in Christopher Katongo and Emmanuel Mayuka who have both scored two each for Zambia in the tournament so far. For me, the attacking abilities of The Copper Bullets will bring down the Falcons of Jediane and Zambia will progress to claim a Semi-Final place.

Over in Malabo the second Quarter-Final will see the favourites and top ranked team, Ivory Coast, attempt to break the hearts of the locals when they take on Equatorial Guinea. The Elephants have by no means been outstanding so far, but have won all their games in an efficient, if somewhat unspectacular fashion. However, Ivory Coast have yet to concede a goal in the tournament so far, and with the strength of squad that includes the experience of Eboue, Drogba and Zokora and younger talent such as Bony, there seems to be no outcome except a win for the Ivory Coast. Of course we all love the underdog, but this really does look on paper a game too far for Nzalang Nacional.

Throughout the “diary” for the competition I have made reference to the rankings of teams, so detailed below is the current full list for the Confederation of African Football (CAF). This was last published on 18 January 2012 and will be updated on 15 February 2012. It shows the ranking within the CAF and FIFA. Each team is given a number of points (not shown here) which is based on a calculation which is arrived at by the following factors:

Points from a single match x Importance of game x strength of opposition x strength of opposition football association/confederation.

However, below each of those criteria is another set, so for instance, in terms of “importance of game” there are a range of points available depending on the type of competition the game took place in. For full details of how it all works, click here

Q = Qualified for 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations.

CAF Ranking FIFA Ranking Team Name
1 18 Ivory Coast (Q)
2 26 Ghana (Q)
3 32 Algeria
4 36 Egypt
5 43 Senegal (Q)
6 45 Nigeria
7 56 Cameroon
8 56 South Africa
9 58 Cape Verde Islands
10 59 Tunisia (Q)
11 60 Sierra Leone
12 61 Morocco (Q)
13 63 Libya (Q)
14 66 Burkina Faso (Q)
15 69 Mali (Q)
16 71 Zambia (Q)
17 79 Guinea (Q)
18 82 Uganda
19 85 Angola (Q)
20 91 Gabon (Q)
21 94 Botswana (Q)
22 98 Niger (Q)
23 99 Malawi
24 100 Togo
25 102 Zimbabwe
26 105 Mozambique
27 110 Rwanda
28 116 Congo DR
29 118 Gambia
30 120 Sudan (Q)
31 121 Kenya
32 122 Namibia
33 123 Liberia
34 128 Central African Republic
35 131 Congo
36 133 Ethiopia
37 136 Benin
38 137 Tanzania
39 141 Burundi
40 142 Chad
41 151 Equatorial Guinea (Q)
42 153 Lesotho
43 160 Madagascar
44 162 Guinea-Bissau
45 180 Swaziland
46 187 Comoros
47 188 Seychelles
48 189 Eritrea
49 190 Somalia
50 194 Mauritius
51 196 São Tomé e Príncipe   
52 198 Djibouti  
53 204 Mauritania