Tuesday, September 11, 2007

13 countries clinch ANC places

The number of 2008 African Nations Cup qualifiers rose to 13 after Guinea, South Africa and Zambia sealed their slots on Sunday.

Angola, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia and hosts Ghana had already secured their places.

The final three berths at the biennial showpiece of African football will be decided next month when Groups Two and Nine are completed.

African champions Egypt must avoid defeat at home to Botswana on 12 October to clinch Group Two's automatic ticket for the tournament in Ghana.

If the Pharaohs lose that game in Cairo then their southern African opponents will qualify for the competition for the first time.

Togo and Mali, who share the top spot in Group Nine with nine points, meet in the decisive game where both must effectively win to qualify.

Third-placed Benin could yet qualify as one of the best runners-up if they win away in Sierra Leone.

If victory eludes the Squirrels, then Uganda will qualify for the first time since 1978, having already reached 11 points with a plus five goal difference.

Zambia captain Chris Katongo grabbed a hat-trick within the opening 20 minutes, profiting from a series of defensive errors as South Africa imploded in their Group 11 game in Cape Town.

"It was a disaster, it was not our team out there," said South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira after the defeat, which saw Zambia come from three points back to win the group on a head-to-head count.

Tunisia, the 2004 hosts and winners, are also through as a best runner-up with 12 points, after finishing second in Group Four following their 3-2 defeat in Sudan.

Namibia netted a late winner in Addis Ababa to beat Ethiopia 3-2 and snatch top place in Group 10 after leaders, the DR of Congo were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Libya.

Both games were played on Saturday.

Manu Kaputose scored to send Namibia to only their second Nations Cup finals appearance as they came from 2-1 down going into the final 10 minutes.

The Congolese miss out on the finals after qualifying for the last eight successive tournaments.

Guinea's 4-0 win over the Cape Verde Islands saw them make sure of top spot in Group Eight on Sunday.

Senegal went one goal better in a 5-1 thumping of Burkina Faso in Dakar on Saturday to win Group Seven.

The Ivory Coast, without injured captain Didier Drogba, drew 0-0 in Gabon to finish top in Group One.

BBC SPORT | Football | African | 13 countries clinch ANC places