African Cup of Nations 2010
The qualifying tournament for the 2010 African Cup of Nations doubled up as the qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. Of the 53 CAF member nations, Sao Tome e Principe and the Central African Republic withdrew leaving 51 teams to compete for 15 places in the finals alongside hosts Angola (and 5 places in the World Cup alongside hosts South Africa). The qualification process was split into three phases – a preliminary round followed by two group stages – and started on the 14th October 2007 finishing in November 2009. Full details can be found below along with our team by team round up.
The six lowest ranked nations play two-legged knockout matches home and away for a place in the first group stage:
|14-10-2007||Madagascar 6-2 Comoros||Antananarivo|
|17-11-2007||Comoros 0-4 Madagascar||Moroni||(Madagascar win 10-2 on aggregate)|
|17-10-2007||Sierra Leone 1-0 Guinea Bissau||Freetown|
|17-11-2007||Guinea Bissau 0-0 Sierra Leone||Bissau||(Sierra Leone win 1-0 on aggregate)|
|16-11-2007||Djibouti 1-0 Somalia||Djibouti||(Only one leg due to war in Somalia)|
First Group Stage
The three play-off winners joined the 45 highest ranked nations in 12 groups of 4 teams. The group winners and the best 8 runners up go through to the next stage.
|Group 1 Results|
|31-05-2008||Cameroon 2-0 Cape Verde||Yaounde|
|31-05-2008||Tanzania 1-1 Mauritius||Dar Es Salaam|
|07-06-2008||Cape Verde 1-0 Tanzania||Praia|
|08-06-2008||Mauritius 0-3 Cameroon||Curepipe|
|14-06-2008||Tanzania 0-0 Cameroon||Dar Es Salaam|
|15-06-2008||Mauritius 0-1 Cape Verde||Curepipe|
|21-06-2008||Cameroon 2-1 Tanzania||Yaounde|
|22-06-2008||Cape Verde 3-1 Mauritius||Praia|
|06-09-2008||Mauritius 1-4 Tanzania||Curepipe|
|06-09-2008||Cape Verde 1-2 Cameroon||Praia|
|11-10-2008||Cameroon 5-0 Mauritius||Yaounde|
|11-10-2008||Tanzania 3-1 Cape Verde||Dar Es Salaam|
|Group 2 Results|
|31-05-2008||Namibia 2-1 Kenya||Windhoek|
|01-06-2008||Guinea 0-0 Zimbabwe||Conakry|
|07-06-2008||Kenya 2-0 Guinea||Nairobi|
|08-06-2008||Zimbabwe 2-0 Namibia||Harare|
|14-06-2008||Namibia 1-2 Guinea||Windhoek|
|14-06-2008||Kenya 2-0 Zimbabwe||Nairobi|
|22-06-2008||Zimbabwe 0-0 Kenya||Harare|
|22-06-2008||Guinea 4-0 Namibia||Conakry|
|06-09-2008||Kenya 1-0 Namibia||Nairobi|
|07-09-2008||Zimbabwe 0-0 Guinea||Harare|
|11-10-2008||Namibia 4-2 Zimbabwe||Windhoek|
|12-10-2008||Guinea 3-2 Kenya||Conakry|
|Group 3 Results|
|31-05-2008||Uganda 1-0 Niger||Kampala|
|01-06-2008||Angola 3-0 Benin||Luanda|
|08-06-2008||Niger 1-2 Angola||Niamey|
|08-06-2008||Benin 4-1 Uganda||Cotonou|
|14-06-2008||Uganda 3-1 Angola||Kampala|
|14-06-2008||Niger 0-2 Benin||Niamey|
|22-06-2008||Benin 2-0 Niger||Cotonou|
|23-06-2008||Angola 0-0 Uganda||Luanda|
|07-09-2008||Benin 3-2 Angola||Cotonou|
|07-09-2008||Niger 3-1 Uganda||Niamey|
|12-10-2008||Angola 3-1 Niger||Luanda|
|12-10-2008||Uganda 2-1 Benin||Kampala|
|Group 4 Results|
|01-06-2008||Equatorial Guinea 2-0 Sierra Leone||Malabo|
|01-06-2008||Nigeria 2-0 South Africa||Abuja|
|07-06-2008||South Africa 4-1 Equatorial Guinea||Atteridgeville|
|07-06-2008||Sierra Leona 0-1 Nigeria||Freetown|
|14-06-2008||Sierra Leone 1-0 South Africa||Freetown|
|15-06-2008||Equatorial Guinea 0-1 Nigeria||Malabo|
|21-06-2008||South Africa 0-0 Sierra Leone||Atteridgeville|
|21-06-2008||Nigeria 2-0 Equatorial Guinea||Abuja|
|06-09-2008||South Africa 0-1 Nigeria||Port Elizabeth|
|06-09-2008||Sierra Leone 2-1 Equatorial Guinea||Freetown|
|11-10-2008||Equatorial Guinea 0-1 South Africa||Malabo|
|11-10-2008||Nigeria 4-1 Sierra Leone||Abuja|
|Group 5 Results|
|01-06-2008||Ghana 3-0 Libya||Kumasi|
|07-06-2008||Libya 1-0 Gabon||Tripoli|
|08-06-2008||Lesotho 2-3 Ghana||Bloemfontein|
|14-06-2008||Gabon 2-0 Ghana||Libreville|
|15-06-2008||Lesotho 0-1 Libya||Bloemfontein|
|20-06-2008||Libya 4-0 Lesotho||Tripoli|
|22-06-2008||Ghana 2-0 Gabon||Accra|
|28-06-2008||Gabon 2-0 Lesotho||Libreville|
|05-09-2008||Libya 1-0 Ghana||Tripoli|
|07-09-2008||Lesotho 0-3 Gabon||Bloemfontein|
|11-10-2008||Ghana 3-0 Lesotho||Sekondi|
|11-10-2008||Gabon 1-0 Libya||Libreville|
|Group 6 Results|
|31-05-2008||Senegal 1-0 Algeria||Dakar|
|01-06-2008||Liberia 1-1 Gambia||Monrovia|
|06-06-2008||Algeria 3-0 Liberia||Blida|
|08-06-2008||Gambia 0-0 Senegal||Banjul|
|14-06-2008||Gambia 1-0 Algeria||Banjul|
|15-06-2008||Liberia 2-2 Senegal||Monrovia|
|20-06-2008||Algeria 1-0 Gambia||Blida|
|21-06-2008||Senegal 3-1 Liberia||Dakar|
|05-09-2008||Algeria 3-2 Senegal||Blida|
|06-09-2008||Gambia 3-0 Liberia||Banjul|
|11-10-2008||Senegal 1-1 Gambia||Dakar|
|11-10-2008||Liberia 0-0 Algeria||Monrovia|
|Group 7 Results|
|31-05-2008||Botswana 0-0 Madagascar||Gaborone|
|01-06-2008||Ivory Coast 1-0 Mozambique||Abidjan|
|08-06-2008||Madagascar 0-0 Ivory Coast||Antananarivo|
|08-06-2008||Mozambique 1-2 Botswana||Maputo|
|14-06-2008||Botswana 1-1 Ivory Coast||Gaborone|
|15-06-2008||Madagascar 1-1 Mozambique||Antananarivo|
|22-06-2008||Mozambique 3-0 Madagascar||Maputo|
|22-06-2008||Ivory Coast 4-0 Botswana||Abidjan|
|07-09-2008||Madagascar 1-0 Botswana||Antananarivo|
|07-09-2008||Mozambique 1-1 Ivory Coast||Maputo|
|11-10-2008||Ivory Coast 3-0 Madagascar||Abidjan|
|11-10-2008||Botswana 0-1 Mozambique||Gaborone|
|Ethiopia disqualified, results void|
|Group 8 Results|
|31-05-2008||Rwanda 3-0 Mauritania||Kigali|
|31-05-2008||Morocco 3-0 Ethiopia||Casablanca|
|07-06-2008||Mauritania 1-4 Morocco||Nouakchott|
|08-06-2008||Ethiopia 1-2 Rwanda||Addis Abeba|
|13-06-2008||Mauritania 0-1 Ethiopia||Nouakchott|
|14-06-2008||Rwanda 3-1 Morocco||Kigali|
|21-06-2008||Morocco 2-0 Rwanda||Casablanca|
|22-06-2008||Ethiopia 6-1 Mauritania||Addis Abeba|
|06-09-2008||Mauritania 0-1 Rwanda||Nouakchott|
|11-10-2008||Morocco 4-0 Mauritania||Rabat|
|Group 9 Results|
|01-06-2008||Burundi 1-0 Seychelles||Bujumbura|
|01-06-2008||Tunisia 1-2 Burkina Faso||Rades|
|07-06-2008||Seychelles 0-2 Tunisia||Victoria|
|07-06-2008||Burkina Faso 2-0 Burundi||Ouagadougou|
|14-06-2008||Seychelles 2-3 Burkina Faso||Victoria|
|15-06-2008||Burundi 0-1 Tunisia||Bujumbura|
|21-06-2008||Burkina Faso 4-1 Seychelles||Ouagadougou|
|21-06-2008||Tunisia 2-1 Burundi||Rades|
|06-09-2008||Seychelles 1-2 Burundi||Victoria|
|06-09-2008||Burkina Faso 0-0 Tunisia||Ouagadougou|
|11-10-2008||Tunisia 5-0 Seychelles||Rades|
|12-10-2008||Burundi 1-3 Burkina Faso||Bujumbura|
|Group 10 Results|
|01-06-2008||Mali 4-2 Congo||Bamako|
|07-06-2008||Chad 1-2 Mali||N’Djamena|
|08-06-2008||Congo 1-0 Sudan||Brazzaville|
|14-06-2008||Chad 2-1 Congo||N’Djamena|
|14-06-2008||Sudan 3-2 Mali||Khartoum|
|22-06-2008||Congo 2-0 Chad||Brazzaville|
|22-06-2008||Mali 3-0 Sudan||Bamako|
|06-09-2008||Sudan 1-2 Chad||Cairo|
|07-09-2008||Congo 1-0 Mali||Brazzaville|
|10-09-2008||Chad 1-3 Sudan||Cairo|
|11-10-2008||Mali 2-1 Chad||Bamako|
|11-10-2008||Sudan 2-0 Congo||Omdurman|
|Eritrea – withdrew|
|Group 11 Results|
|31-05-2008||Togo 1-0 Zambia||Accra|
|08-06-2008||Swaziland 2-1 Togo||Lobamba|
|15-06-2008||Swaziland 0-0 Zambia||Lobamba|
|21-06-2008||Zambia 1-0 Swaziland||Chililabombwe|
|10-09-2008||Zambia 1-0 Togo||Chililabombwe|
|11-10-2008||Togo 6-0 Swaziland||Accra|
|Group 12 Results|
|31-05-2008||Malawi 8-1 Djibouti||Blantyre|
|01-06-2008||Egypt 2-1 DR Congo||Cairo|
|06-06-2008||Djibouti 0-4 Egypt||Djibouti|
|08-06-2008||DR Congo 1-0 Malawi||Kinshasa|
|13-06-2008||Djibouti 0-6 DR Congo||Djibouti|
|14-06-2008||Malawi 1-0 Egypt||Blantyre|
|22-06-2008||DR Congo 5-1 Djibouti||Kinshasa|
|22-06-2008||Egypt 2-0 Malawi||Cairo|
|05-09-2008||Djibouti 0-3 Malawi||Djibouti|
|07-09-2008||DR Congo 0-1 Egypt||Kinshasa|
|11-10-2008||Malawi 2-1 DR Congo||Blantyre|
|12-10-2008||Egypt 4-0 Djibouti||Cairo|
Second Group Stage
Twenty teams are divided into five groups of four. The top three in each group qualify for the finals in Angola and the five group winners qualify for the World Cup in South Africa.
|Group A Fixtures|
|28-03-2009||Togo 1-0 Cameroon||Accra|
|28-03-2009||Morocco 1-2 Gabon||Casablanca|
|06-06-2009||Gabon 3 -0 Togo||Libreville|
|07-06-2009||Cameroon 0 -0 Morocco||Yaounde|
|20-06-2009||Morocco 0-0 Togo||Rabat|
|05-09-2009||Gabon 0-2 Cameroon||Libreville|
|06-09-2009||Togo 1-1 Morocco||Lome|
|09-09-2009||Cameroon 2-1 Gabon||Yaounde|
|10-10-2009||Cameroon 3-0 Togo||Yaounde|
|10-10-2009||Gabon 3-1 Morocco||Libreville|
|14-11-2009||Togo 1-0 Gabon||Lome|
|14-11-2009||Morocco 0-2 Cameroon||Fes|
|Group B Fixtures|
|28-03-2009||Kenya 1-2 Tunisia||Nairobi|
|29-03-2009||Mozambique 0-0 Nigeria||Maputo|
|06-06-2009||Tunisia 2 -0 Mozambique||Rades|
|07-06-2009||Nigeria 3 -0 Kenya||Abuja|
|20-06-2009||Tunisia 0-0 Nigeria||Rades|
|20-06-2009||Kenya 2-1 Mozambique||Nairobi|
|06-09-2009||Nigeria 2-2 Tunisia||Abuja|
|06-09-2009||Mozambique 1-0 Kenya||Maputo|
|11-10-2009||Tunisia 1-0 Kenya||Rades|
|11-10-2009||Nigeria 1-0 Mozambique||Abuja|
|14-11-2009||Mozambique 1-0 Tunisia||Maputo|
|14-11-2009||Kenya 2-3 Nigeria||Nairobi|
|Group C Fixtures|
|28-03-2009||Rwanda 0-0 Algeria||Kigali|
|29-03-2009||Egypt 1-1 Zambia||Cairo|
|06-06-2009||Zambia 1-0 Rwanda||Chililabombwe|
|07-06-2009||Algeria 3-1 Egypt||Blida|
|20-06-2009||Zambia 0 -2 Algeria||Chililabombwe|
|05-07-2009||Egypt 3-0 Rwanda||Cairo|
|05-09-2009||Rwanda 0-1 Egypt||Kigali|
|06-09-2009||Algeria 1-0 Zambia||Blida|
|10-10-2009||Zambia 0-1 Egypt||Chililabombwe|
|11-10-2009||Algeria 3-1 Rwanda||Blida|
|14-11-2009||Egypt 2-0 Algeria||Cairo|
|14-11-2009||Rwanda 0-0 Zambia||Kigali|
|Group D Fixtures|
|28-03-2009||Sudan 1-1 Mali||Omdurman|
|29-03-2009||Ghana 1-0 Benin||Kumasi|
|07-06-2009||Mali 0-2 Ghana||Bamako|
|07-06-2009||Benin 1-0 Sudan||Cotonou|
|20-06-2009||Sudan 0-2 Ghana||Omdurman|
|21-06-2009||Mali 3-1 Benin||Bamako|
|06-09-2009||Ghana 2-0 Sudan||Accra|
|06-09-2009||Benin 1-1 Mali||Cotonou|
|11-10-2009||Mali 1-0 Sudan||Bamako|
|11-10-2009||Benin 1-0 Ghana||Cotonou|
|14-11-2009||Sudan 1-2 Benin||Omdurman|
|15-11-2009||Ghana 2-2 Mali||Kumasi|
|Group E Fixtures|
|28-03-2009||Burkina Faso 4-2 Guinea||Ouagadougou|
|29-03-2009||Ivory Coast 5-0 Malawi||Abidjan|
|06-06-2009||Malawi 0-1 Burkina Faso||Blantyre|
|07-06-2009||Guinea 1-2 Ivory Coast||Conakry|
|20-06-2009||Burkina Faso 2-3 Ivory Coast||Ouagadougou|
|21-06-2009||Guinea 2-1 Malawi||Conakry|
|05-09-2009||Malawi 2-1 Guinea||Blantyre|
|05-09-2009||Ivory Coast 5-0 Burkina Faso||Abidjan|
|10-10-2009||Malawi 1-1 Ivory Coast||Blantyre|
|11-10-2009||Guinea 1-2 Burkina Faso||Accra|
|14-11-2009||Ivory Coast 3-0 Guinea||Abidjan|
|14-11-2009||Burkina Faso 1-0 Malawi||Ouagadougou|
Algeria – won group 6 to qualify for the second phase. They comfortably qualified for the finals coming joint top of group C with an identical record to Egypt, their sole defeat coming against the Egyptians in Cairo in the final game of the campaign.
Angola – qualified automatically as hosts but contested the tournament as part of the World Cup 2010 qualification process. They finished a disappointing second behind Benin and dropped out as they were not among the best eight runners-up. Faded after a promising start to the campaign.
Benin – won group 3 to qualify for the second phase. They didn’t have much trouble negotiating that hurdle either; three wins, a draw and two defeats enough for second place and a spot in the finals.
Botswana – their quest for a first ever finals appearance is set to continue, having finished bottom of their first round qualifying group. However, there were some encouraging performances giving hope for future improvements. A 2-1 win in Mozambique and a 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast were the highlights.
Burkina Faso – surprise team of the first qualifying group stage as they strolled to first place in group 9 with five wins and a draw. They managed to maintain that good form and were the Ivory Coast’s only real challengers in the second stage although a 5-0 reverse in Abidjan showed how much they still have to improve in order to bridge the gap that saw them finish four points back in second place. Comfortable qualifiers nonetheless.
Burundi – failed at the first group stage having been outclassed by Burkina Faso and Tunisia. They did manage narrow home and away wins over Seychelles for a return of six points but they’ll need to learn to live with the big boys if they want to make any progress in these tournaments.
Cameroon – easily won group 1 with five wins and a draw to qualify for the second stage. A slow start in group A saw them take only one point from their first two games but they finished strongly with four straight wins to top the group.
Cape Verde – finished second in the group but their record was not good enough to qualify for the final stage as one of the best runners-up. They beat lowly Mauritius twice, lost twice to Cameroon, beat Tanzania at home but lost away to them in the final game. A win in that match would have put Cape Verde into the final round.
Central African Republic – withdrew from the tournament. (Possibly due to lack of funds at the FA).
Chad – didn’t progress past the first group phase, but they were no ‘also rans’, having beaten Congo at home and Sudan away. They will take heart from those performances and the fact that their four defeats were all fairly close run affairs. They can take what they’ve learnt from this campaign and build for the future.
Comoros – they fell at the first hurdle, and ignominiously too, losing 10-2 to Madagascar in a not very competitive Indian Ocean derby. An early lead in the first leg initially raised hopes of an unlikely upset but these were well and truly dashed by the time the sixth went in. Hopefully they will have learnt a few things from the tie, not least that they need to improve at football.
Congo – came mighty close to qualifying for the second group phase. They held second spot in group 10 going in to the final match in Sudan and victory would have taken them through as one of the best runners-up but they conceded a goal in each half to lose 2-0 and finish third, behind their opponents on goal difference. Beat everyone in the group at home, but lost to them all away so they need to change their tactics on the road.
Djibouti – a late goal saw them through a one off preliminary match at home to Somalia. However, qualification for the first group phase was a mixed blessing as they went on to record the worst record of any team in any group. An 8-1 drubbing by Malawi in the first match didn’t bode well and five more defeats were to follow, resulting in a final goal difference of minus 28.
DR Congo – like their group 12 rivals, they beat Djibouti twice, but their only other win was at home to Malawi. A pair of defeats by Egypt and another in the final match in Malawi left them in third place. A win in that last game would have put them through as one of the top 8 runners-up.
Egypt – won group 12 without too much trouble. A slow start in second round group C saw them take one point from their first two games but they reacted well to win the last four and qualify in joint first place with Algeria. Their only loss was away against the Algerians.
Equatorial Guinea – a surprise win against Sierra Leone in their first game may have raised hopes of qualification but these evaporated during five subsequent defeats in an admittedly tough group. They’ll be hoping for a kinder draw next time around.
Eritrea – withdrew due to “internal problems within the federation”.
Ethiopia – played four of their group matches (winning two and losing two) before they were disqualified by FIFA due to power struggles within the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF). FIFA ruled that the president of the EFF was improperly removed from office and the country’s federation is suspended pending further developments.
Gabon – goal difference saw them through to the second group stage, just edging out Libya on the way. They won three and lost three in a tough second group to take second spot and comfortably qualify for the finals.
Gambia – missed out on qualification for the final group stage by the narrowest of margins. They finished only one point behind group winners Algeria and were ninth in the table of best runners-up, being edged out of the top eight on goal difference by Mozambique. Unbeaten at home in Banjul (two wins and a draw) and solid on the road (two draws and one defeat).
Ghana – won a very tight group on goal difference to sneak into the second group stage. There they won their first four matches to win the group with something to spare allowing them to relax in their remaining two fixtures.
Guinea – won a fairly weak first stage group. They were outclassed by both the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso in the second stage and crucially also lost away in Malawi. The 14 goals they conceded was the highest of any of the second group stage participants and their only points came from a home win against Malawi. They finished bottom of group E and miss out.
Guinea-Bissau – they were edged out in the preliminaries by a solitary goal in their two-legged tie with Sierra Leone. The 1-0 defeat in Freetown proved too much to overcome back in Bissau.
Ivory Coast – unbeaten winners of group 7 in the first stage with three home wins and three away draws. They went from strength in the second stage, scoring 19 goals and finishing with the best record of any team. Qualification was secured with two games to spare and they will be formidable challengers for the title in Angola.
Kenya – strong home form took them through to the second phase as one of the best runners-up. However, their challenge fell apart as a solitary victory over Mozambique coupled with five defeats saw them miss out on the finals as they propped up group B.
Lesotho – six matches, six defeats, no points and no cause for optimism. Their only two goals came in the last two minutes of their first match at home to Ghana when the visitors had eased off in the comfort of a three goal lead. Lesotho were well out of their depth in this group.
Liberia – unbeaten at home but atrocious away, they finished rock bottom of their first round group. Gambia, Senegal and Algeria were all held in Monrovia but all three recorded convincing victories when they faced the Liberians on home turf.
Libya – they will rightly feel hard done by to miss out on qualification for the second group stage, having accumulated more points than some of the group winners despite finishing in third place in group 5. It was an extremely tough group, with the big three teams all beating each other at home and doing the double over Lesotho. The resulting three-way tie was resolved by goal difference and the Libyans fell just short.
Madagascar – waltzed through a one-sided preliminary round tie against Comoros 10-2 on aggregate, but they weren’t quite good enough to get through the first group stage. Indeed, their preliminary round goal fest soon became a distant memory as they began with two 0-0 draws followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Mozambique and a 3-0 reverse in the return match. A 1-0 win against Botswana in Antananarivo was their only success and they finished a disappointing third.
Malawi – three home wins including an 8-1 thrashing of Djibouti saw them bag one of the best 8 runners-up spots to reach the second phase. They can’t take much encouragement from their performances in group E other than that they somehow reached the finals, albeit with the worst record of any of the 15 eventual qualifiers. One win, against bottom placed Guinea, and a draw against the already qualified Ivory Coast were enough to put them one point ahead of the Guineans but it doesn’t bode well for their prospects in Angola.
Mali – won group 10 with a perfect record at home in Bamako to make the second round. It wasn’t such plain sailing from then on, although a place in the finals was never really in doubt. Ghana spoilt their home record with a 2-0 win on the second matchday but victories in their subsequent two home games were enough to secure third place and the Ghana reverse proved to be their only defeat.
Mauritania – finished third of three in qualifying group 8 after Ethiopia were disqualified. They exited the tournament without a win or even a point to their name. There’s a lot of work to be done if they want to avoid more of the same next time around.
Mauritius – their first game of the campaign turned out to be their best performance and yielded their only point. The 1-1 draw away at Tanzania was a creditable result but it was followed by five straight defeats and only two more goals for the Indian Ocean islanders.
Morocco – won group 8 on goal difference ahead of Rwanda. However, they couldn’t cope with the competition in a tough second round group and finished a distant fourth without a win to their name.
Mozambique – only just made it to the second qualifying stage as the eighth best runner-up following two wins, two draws and two defeats in group 7. A poor start left them with one point from four games in the second phase but they won their last two fixtures at home in Maputo to snatch the third qualifying berth from group B.
Namibia – started and finished the campaign with wins but four defeats in between left them bottom of the group on goal difference. Their victories (over Kenya and Zimbabwe) both came at home in Windhoek, but their form on the road was abysmal.
Niger – a poor performance and bottom place in group three sent Niger crashing out in the first group stage. Their lone win came at home against Uganda after they were already eliminated. The only consolation is that there’s a lot of room for improvement.
Nigeria – the only team with a perfect record in the first qualifying round. Six wins from six and only one goal conceded as they romped through group 4. Although they remained unbeaten in the second group phase (3 wins, 3 draws), they needed a late winner in their final game away in Kenya coupled with a Tunisia defeat to secure top spot.
Rwanda – reached the second stage as the best placed runner-up having missed out on winning group 8 only by goal difference. That was as good as it got because they were outclassed in Group C, scoring only one goal in their six matches and gaining only two points from 0-0 draws against Algeria and Zambia in Kigali.
Sao Tome and Principe – withdrew from the tournament. They haven’t played a match since late 2003. (Possibly due to lack of funds at the FA).
Senegal – failed to negotiate the first group stage and will consequently sit out the finals for the first time in 12 years. They finished third in group 6, albeit only one point behind group winners Algeria and having lost only one match. Three draws, particularly the one at home to neighbours Gambia, proved costly.
Seychelles – always outsiders and true to form they finished bottom of their first round group. They were unable to produce any upsets and ended up losing every game. They briefly held the lead against Burkina Faso in the third game only to eventually lose 3-2.
Sierra Leone – came through a tight preliminary tie against Guinea-Bissau 1-0 on aggregate and made a good fist at getting through the first group stage although a slow start ultimately proved to be their undoing. A pair of defeats to Nigeria was expected but a loss to Equatorial Guinea in the first game cost them dear and consigned them to third place in the group.
Somalia – their preliminary round match against neighbours Djibouti was a one-legged affair due to the ongoing war in Somalia. An 84th minute goal was enough to quash any nascent Somali hopes of a first ever finals appearance.
South Africa – a very poor performance from the Bafana Bafana saw them become the first country to fail to qualify for their own World Cup. They’ll be there anyway as hosts, but they won’t be in Angola, having finished with the worst record of the 12 group runners-up. Six of their seven points came from the two games against Equatorial Guinea. The other came in a goalless draw at home to Sierra Leone. A drastic improvement is necessary if they are to avoid embarrassment in the World Cup.
Sudan – three wins and three defeats saw them reach the second stage as one of the best runners-up. A draw at home to Mali in their first group D game turned out to be the zenith of their campaign as it preceded a run of five straight defeats earning them the worst record in the second group stage and bottom spot.
Swaziland – started well with a home win over Togo in Lobamba and a 0-0 draw with Zambia at the same venue a week later to top the three team group at the half way stage (Eritrea having withdrawn). However, they narrowly lost out in the return match with Zambia and were outclassed by Togo to eventually finish bottom and miss out on the second phase of qualifying.
Tanzania – a slow start to the campaign proved to be their downfall. The 1-1 draw at home versus whipping boys Mauritius followed by defeat in Cape Verde in the second game left them with a mountain to climb and, although they finished with two straight wins, they were ultimately condemned to third place in the group. Two close games with Cameroon show that they are gradually closing the gap on the continent’s elite.
Togo – two home wins secured one of the best runners-up spots from a group hit by the withdrawal of Eritrea. Two wins, two draws and two defeats saw them edged into third place in the second group phase, but they qualified with a comfortable margin over hapless Morocco.
Tunisia – second spot in group nine was good enough to gain a place in the second qualifying round. They led group B from the off but suffered their only defeat in the last game away in Mozambique and were consequently overhauled by Nigeria. However, they still qualified comfortably in second spot.
Uganda – finished third in group three but came within a whisker of qualifying for the second stage and even winning the group. The crucial result turned out to be a defeat in Niger on the fifth matchday when Niger picked up their only points of the campaign. Had the Ugandans won that game, they would have finished in first place. Three wins from three in Kampala provided the basis for their challenge.
Zambia – won group 11 despite only scoring two goals. The seven points earned from 1-0 twice at home and a 0-0 draw away were enough for top spot after the withdrawal of Eritrea. Only two more goals were added to their tally in the second phase, both contributing to their solid start in the form of a 1-1 draw in Egypt and a 1-0 home win against Rwanda. Three defeats followed but qualification was secured courtesy of a 0-0 draw in the return in Rwanda.
Zimbabwe – went out in the first group stage, finishing joint bottom of group two. Goals were hard to come by – they only found the net in the games against Namibia – and although they were unbeaten at home, two of those games were 0-0 draws. They’ll need to pose more of an attacking threat if they are to improve on this showing next time around.