A total of 48 CAF member national teams entered the qualifying rounds, split into zones according to their regional affiliations. There have been some results from the qualifiers which left mouths agape, with others going just as expected.
Today we breakdown some of the shocks, and succinctly relive special moments as teams battle for places at the 2018 African Nations Championship.
Northern Zone: All four teams (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, and Morocco) entered the first round.
Algeria 1–2 Libya
This fixture had everything and began as early as the 1st minute with USM Alger’s Oussama Darfalou scoring the opener to transform the atmosphere inside the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium, Constantine, into frenzy. Within minutes, all of that was buried as Chamseddine Rahmani put one past his own goal in the 6th minute to level scores. Muaid Ellafi scored in the 48th minute to secure a vital away win for The Mediterranean Knights. The return leg takes place on August 18, 2017, at the Stade Taïeb Mhiri, Sfax.
In the other fixture, Egypt were held to a (1-1) draw at the Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria. El-Sheikh penalty had given the red devils an early lead in the 4th minute, but Badr Banoun’s strike in the 52nd minute ensured the spoils were shared ahead of the return fixture on August 18, 2017, at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Rabat.
Central Zone: All six teams (Cameroon, Congo, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe) entered the first round.
Equatorial Guinea were paired against Gabon, but the latter withdrew prior to the first leg which automatically handed qualification to the Guineans on walkover. The other fixtures both at the Stade Municipal de Kintélé, Brazzaville, and Estádio Nacional 12 de Julho, São Tomé ended in identical results (Congo 0–0 DR Congo) and (São Tomé and Príncipe 0–0 Cameroon). Deciders to go down in Kinshasa and Yaoundé
Central-East Zone: Two teams (Somalia, South Sudan) entered the first round. Seven teams (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda) entered the second round.
Uganda Cranes were clinical in front of goal as they pummeled the Rwanda Amavubi Stars 3-0 at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende. In the other game from the zone, Ethiopia played out a (1-1) draw with Sudan at the Hawassa International Stadium, Awasa.
West Zone A: All eight teams (Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, and Sierra Leone) entered the first round.
At the Stade Olympique, Nouakchott, Mauritania – the home side gave a laudable performance in a breathtaking (2-2) draw to deny on-paper favorite Mali what seem mapped to be an away win. The Stade Modibo Kéïta, Bamako, will host the return fixture on the 19th of August, 2017.
West Zone B: Two teams (Benin, Togo) entered the first round. Five teams (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, and Nigeria) started their qualifiers in the second round.
Benin saw off Togo (2–2 on aggregate – 8–7 on penalties) to battle Nigeria in the second round for a place at the 2018 competition. The first leg fixture plated at the Stade de l’Amitié, Cotonou saw the Squirrels edge the Eagles (1-0) courtesy a Mama Seibou 90th minute penalty.
Other results: Niger 2-1 Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso 2-2 Ghana
Return leg to go down at the Stade Robert Champroux, Abidjan, Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi, and Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano, respectively.
Southern Zone: Four teams (Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, and Seychelles) entered the first round. Ten teams (Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) entered the second round.
Results: Madagascar 0–0 Angola, Comoros 2–1 Namibia, South Africa 2–2 Zambia.
A total of 16 teams will qualify to play in the final tournament, including Kenya who qualified automatically as hosts. Equatorial Guinea also have secured one of the slots reserved for teams from the Central Zone.
CHAN 2018 Slots:
- Host – 1
- Central Zone – 3
- Southern Zone – 3
- Southern Zone – 3
- West Zone B – 3
- West Zone A – 2
- Northern Zone – 2
- Central-East Zone – 2