Wednesday December 06, 2023

Madagascar, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt qualify for Africa Cup of Nations

October 18, 2018

JOHANNESBURG: Madagascar, for the first time, Senegal and former champions Tunisia and Egypt sealed places at the Africa Cup of Nations finals Tuesday with two matchdays to spare.

Njiva Rakotoharimalala scored four minutes before half-time to earn Madagascar a 1-0 Group A victory over Equatorial Guinea on the vast Indian Ocean island.In the same mini-league, Senegal left it late in Sudan to win 1-0 with Sidy Sarr heading the lone goal four minutes from time in Khartoum.

Senegal and Madagascar have 10 points each from four matches, seven more than nearest rivals Equatorial Guinea with two rounds left, and the top two finishers in each section qualify.Tunisia and record seven-time title-holders Egypt secured places in Cameroon next June with away victories in Group J over Niger and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) respectively.

A Firas Chaout brace brought 2004 champions Tunisia a 2-1 win in Niamey and Ahmed Hegazy and Marwan Mohsen netted as Egypt cruised to a 2-0 victory in Manzini.It was the second 1-0 victory for the Malagasy over the Equatoguineans within four days after captain Faneva Andriatsima scored the winner last Saturday.

They qualified despite having to play a preliminary tie, won 4-2 on aggregate against Sao Tome e Principe, and being seeded last behind Senegal, Equatorial Guinea and Sudan.Qualification for the Malagasy came after 18 failed attempts, with French coach Nicolas Dupuis’ most common starting eleven comprising four players based in France, one each in Algeria, Belgium, Egypt, Reunion, Saudi Arabia and Thailand, and one local.

After Chaout netted twice within four minutes, Youssef Oumarou pulled one goal back before half-time for Niger, who could not prevent leaders Tunisia maintaining their perfect record.Second-placed Egypt were too classy for eSwatini despite lacking injured star Mohamed Salah.