Less fancied Cape Verde and Cecafa representatives Ethiopia are two games away from reaching the finals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after respectively finishing on top of their groups. The pair joined giants Senegal, Ghana, Egypt, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Nigeria who also made it to the play offs.
Kawowo Sports’ Ismael Kiyonga followed the events across all the groups and reviews the deciding games of the campaign that saw giants Tunisia and South Africa fail to qualify.
GROUP A: Ethiopia 13pts South Africa 11pts CAR 7pts and Botswana 3pts
Saturday Results: CAR 1-2 Ethiopia & South Africa 4-1 Botswana
Ethiopia had to come from a goal down to beat Central African Republic 2-1 in Congo Brazzaville and seal leadership of the group. Saladin Said and Teshome Beyene scored for the Walya Antelopes after Salif Keita had given CAR a shock lead.
The win meant South Africa’s 4-1 thumping of Botswana had no impact as Ethiopia finished top of the group with 13 points two ahead of South Africa.
GROUP B: Cape Verde 12pts Tunisia 11points Sierra Leone 8pts and Equatorial Guinea 2pts.
Saturday Results: Tunisia 0-2 Cape Verde & Sierra Leone 3-2 Equatorial Guinea
Minnows Cape Verde stunned much fancied Tunisia with a 2-0 home defeat to finish top of group B. The hosts needed just a draw to advance but were beaten by two first half goals from Platini and Nhuck that gave the Blue Sharks the three points they needed.
Tunisia had thought they were through to the play-offs in June but were denied when Fifa overturned the results of two earlier qualifiers that allowed Cape Verde back into the race.
Cape Verde’s lifeline came from Equatorial Guinea using an ineligible player in both qualifiers against them, with Fifa ruling that Emilio Nsue Lopez did not meet its criteria on nationality thus being awarded six points.
Sierra Leone beat Eq. Guinea 3-2 in a dead rubber.
GROUP C: Ivory Coast 14pts, Morocco 9pts, Tanzania 6pts and Gambia 4pts
Saturday Results: Gambia 2-0 Tanzania & Ivory Coast 1-1 Morocco
Ivory Coast cemented their place on top after drawing 1-1 with Morocco in their final game and remains the only unbeaten side in the group. Youssef Al Arabi scored for Morocco before Didier Drogba equalized for the hosts. In the other game, Gambia beat neighbours Tanzania 2-0 but finished bottom of the group.
GROUP D: Ghana 15pts, Zambia 11pts Sudan & Lesotho
Weekend Results: Ghana 2-1 Zambia Lesotho – Sudan
Ghana went into their match against Zambia in Kumasi needing just a point to advance.
A diving header from Abdul Majeed Waris and a long range effort from Kwadwo Asamoah ensured victory.
Nathan Sinkala pulled one back for the visitors but the Black Stars held on to collect three points and join the rest in the play offs.
GROUP E: Burkina Faso 12pts, Congo 11pts, Gabon 7pts and Niger 4pts
Saturday: Burkina Faso 1-0 Gabon, Niger 2-2 Congo-Brazzaville
Africa Cup of Nations runners-up Burkina Faso beat visiting Gabon 1-0 to take advantage of Congo’s failure to win in Niger.
Prejuce Nakoulma scored the only goal of the game for the Stallions 10 minutes after half-time.
They then had to wait for confirmation of the final score from Niamey as Niger held Congo to a 2-2 draw.
Burkina Faso as well as Gabon had lost points in the campaign due to eligibility issues over nationality, leaving the group to be decided by the final matches.
It was a second missed chance for Congo who would have advanced if they had drawn with Burkina Faso in June rather than losing.
GROUP F: Nigeria 12pts, Kenya 8pts, Malawi 7pts & Namibia 3points
Weekend Results: Nigeria 2-0 Malawi & Kenya 1-0 Namibia
Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike scored two crucial goals to hand Nigeria a 2-0 win over Malawi and advance to the play offs of the 2014 Africa WCQ campaign.
The Super Eagles went into the game in search for a draw but toppled the Flames to top the group.
GROUP G: Egypt have already qualified from this group and will be looking to complete the campaign with a 100% next Tuesday when they face Guinea in Alexandria.
GROUP H: Algeria are another nation who have already secured their place in the play-offs and so can begin their preparations for those ties when they host Mali on Tuesday.
GROUP J: Senegal 12pts, Uganda 8pts, Angola 7pts & Liberia 4pts
Saturday Results: Senegal 1-0 Uganda, Angola 4-1 Liberia
Senegal scored in the 84th minute to beat 10-man Uganda 1-0 and seal their place in the play-offs.
Uganda played most of the match with 10 men after Godfrey Walusimbi was shown a straight red card in the 36th minute for a bad foul on Gassama Lamine.
Senegal built pressure in the second-half and former Manchester United striker Mame Birame Diouf causing Uganda’s defence a lot of problems before he was forced off with an injury in the 75th minute.
Sadio Mane, who plays in Austria with Red Bull Salzburg, eventually broke the deadlock with just six minutes remaining.
The draw of the last CAF world cup qualifier play-offs will be held on 18 September 2013 at the CAF headquarters in Cairo. Teams will be seeded based on the September 2013 edition of the FIFA Ranking.
The 10 teams to be in the draw are: Ethiopia, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Cameroon/Libya and Senegal
The play off matches are scheduled to be played in the periods 11–15 October and 15–19 November 2013
NOTE: Group I decider between Cameroon and Libya is on in Yaoundé later Sunday evening.
Cameroun beat Libya 1-0 to claim the 10th place after topping group I