By: Gyang Dakwo
Senegal, South Africa, and Burkina Faso are the latest countries to book their tickets to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) slated for next year in Ivory Coast after winning their respective qualifiers on Tuesday.
Current champions Senegal, who won the AFCON 2019 edition in Cameroon, will be defending their continental title in Ivory Coast following a 1-0 win over Mozambique to qualify for the finals. Boulaye Dia scored the only goal in that match.
The Lions of Teranga sit top of Group L with 12 points while Mozambique is far-second with four points. Senegal only needs a draw in their next game of the qualifiers to finish as the group lead.
After missing the last AFCON, the Bafana Bafana of South Africa will feature in next year’s final following a 2-1 victory over Liberia at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Stadium.
Zakhele Lepasa put the visitors upfront in the 16th minute before William Jebor equalised for Liberia late in the first half, but eight minutes into the second half Mihlali Mayambele scored the goal which sent South Africa to Ivory Coast.
Meanwhile, the Stallions of Burkina Faso played a one-all draw with Togo but the Burkinabes managed to book their ticket to Ivory Coast. They now sit 10 points at the top of Group B, three clear of second-placed Cape Verde.
Premier League’s Bournemouth forward Dango Ouattara put Burkina Faso ahead inside the opening minutes of the game but Kodjo Laban soon leveled it for the hosts four minutes before the half-hour mark.
They joined host nation Ivory Coast, Group K leader and World Cup record holder, the Atlas Lions of Morocco, and Group F leader, Fennec Foxes of Algeria, as the countries to have qualified for the 2023 AFCON.