African champions Senegal have secured qualification for the next Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), headlining a busy Tuesday of action which also saw South Africa book their ticket for the finals in Ivory Coast next year.
The Teranga Lions made it four wins from as many matches in Group L when they defeated hosts Mozambique 1-0 in Maputo thanks to Boulaye Dia’s 18th-minute strike, while Bafana Bafana ensured a top-two finish in three-team Group K (alongside already-qualified Morocco) with a 2-1 away win over Liberia in Monrovia.
Zakhele Lepasa and Mihlali Mayambela scored the goals for South Africa, who will return to the Nations Cup after missing the last edition in 2022.
The early-evening also saw Gambia deny Mali early qualification with a 1-0 home win in Casablanca. Omar Colley’s late goal ensured the Eagles did not claim a fourth successive win in Group G and left the Scorpions level with Congo on six points.
The top result from the afternoon matches was Namibia’s 2-1 triumph over Cameroon in Soweto, in which goals from Peter Shaulile and Absalom Limbondi took the Brave Warriors top of Group C ahead of the Indomitable Lions (though both are likely to qualify ahead of Burundi in their three-team group).
In Francistown, Botswana and Equatorial Guinea played out a five-goal thriller, with Nzalang Nacional emerging 3-2 winners to go top of Group J (with Tunisia looking to reclaim pole position in a late kick-off), while Cape Verde defeated Eswatini 1-0 in Nelspruit thanks to a strike from Ryan Mendes, taking a stranglehold of second spot in Group B behind Burkina Faso.
In Lilongwe, Egypt crushed hosts Malawi 4-0 to join Guinea on nine points at the top of Group E. The Pharaohs triumphed thanks to goals from Tarek Hamed, Omar Marmoush, Mohamed Salah and Zizo, and need just one more point from their two remaining matches to secure qualification.
The late kick-offs on Tuesday night are Comoros v Ivory Coast, Togo v Burkina Faso, Libya v Tunisia, and Mauritania v DR Congo. In addition, Matchday 4 wraps up on Wednesday afternoon with a lone clash between Rwanda and Benin.
Tuesday 28 March
Botswana 2-3 Equatorial Guinea
Eswatini 0-1 Cape Verde
Malawi 0-4 Egypt
Namibia 2-1 Cameroon
Gambia 1-0 Mali
Liberia 1-2 South Africa
Mozambique 0-1 Senegal
Late kick-offs/Wednesday fixtures
– Tanzania v Uganda (interrupted at the time of writing)
– Comoros v Ivory Coast
– Togo v Burkina Faso
– Libya v Tunisia
– Mauritania v DR Congo
– Rwanda v Benin