Nigeria Head Possible Spots In AFCON 2019 Qualifiers

Attention across Africa this weekend is on the penultimate round of matches in the qualifiers for next year’s continental soccer showpiece in Cameroon.
Among teams seeking to confirm their tickets to Cameroon 2019 Afirca Cup of Nations are Nigeria’s Super Eagles, who will make it through with a game to spare if they beat Bafana Bafana Bafana of South Africa tomorrow, while a draw would also put them through mathematically.
Cameroon qualify automatically as hosts, and Madagascar have secured their place at a Nations Cup for the first time after qualifying last month along with Egypt, Senegal and Tunisia.
Nigeria missed the last two editions of the competition, hence the zeal among the Eagles to regain prominence for the nation by picking the AFCON 2019 ticket, and doing so early.
On the other hand, South Africa need a win from their Group E clash at FNB Stadium, Johanessburg to be certain of qualification after they also missed the 2017 tournament.
However, both countries will secure finals places irrespective of the result if Libya lose in the Seychelles.
Similarly, Mauritania, who have never qualified for the competition, are among 15 countries who could secure places at the 2019 tournament in Paul Biya’s country this weekend.
Mauritania will be assured of a top-two finish in Group I and confirm their qualification if they defeat Botswana at home in Nouakchott.
The Mauritanians travelled to Botswana for the first round of qualifying in June last year and won 1-0 through an Abdallahi Soudani goal.
While Mauritania have won three of four games in a group completed by Burkina Faso and Angola, Botswana have lost three, drawn one, and not scored a single goal.
Botswana’s only previous Nations Cup visit to Nouakchott resulted in a 4-0 defeat 12 years ago.
Incidentally, Egypt against Tunisia in Alexandria is another high-profile fixture to watch this weekend, though both have already booked finals places from Group J.
The trapping for this one is that some of the stars from CAF Champions League winners, Esperance of Tunisia and runners-up Al Ahly of Egypt will be on parade, as The Pharaohs seek revenge for a 1-0 loss in Rades.
Elsewhere, Guinea and Uganda will also be sure of places among the 24 finalists in Cameroon provided they do not lose at home.
Guinea have a Group H top-of-the-table clash with Ivory Coast, who will be without injured Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha as they take on a team who beat them 3-2 in Bouake.
In Group L, Uganda, who share with South Africa the record of not having conceded a goal in 2019 qualifying, will be confident of securing at least a point against Cape Verde in Kampala having beaten them 1-0 away.
Tanzania, who are coached by former Super Eagles winger, Emmnauel Amuneke, and whose only previous Cup of Nations appearance was 38 years ago in Nigeria, can accompany Uganda from Group L by collecting maximum points in Lesotho.
Mali will go through from Group C should they complete a double over Gabon after winning 2-1 in Bamako.
On the other hand, for Gabon to qualify, they must triumph in Libreville and hope third-place Burundi lose away to South Sudan in Juba.
Finally, away victories for Algeria and Benin over Togo and the Gambia respectively would secure qualification from Group D while Zimbabwe need a draw in Liberia to advance from Group G.

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