Zambia beat Cote d'Ivoire to secure TotalEnergies AFCON qualification, Angola keep hope alive


Zambia secured a ticket to the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Cote d'Ivoire 2023, after beating the already qualified hosts 3-0 at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on Saturday.

Patson Daka and Kings Kangwa’s second half goals added on to a Serge Aurier own goal in the first half, as Avram Grant’s Chipolopolo stormed into the tournament in style. The victory at home pushed Zambia to 12 points top of Group H with one match remaining, two ahead of the Ivorians.

The group is now closed, as only one team could progress from there. The 2012 champions are making a return to the tournament for the first time since 2015 after missing the last three editions.

Powered on by a full capacity crowd in Ndola, Zambia started well and had a strong of chances with the forward duo of Patson Daka and Fashion Sakala being a constant threat. They broke the lead on the half hour mark when Aurier scored into his own net after being put under pressure by Daka.

They went to the break with a single goal lead, and on the balance of chances, should have had more.

They needed just two minutes after the break to double their lead, Daka finding the net with a neat finish. Seven minutes later, it was game over when Kangwa got the third and the Zambians were surely flying into qualification.

The Ivorians attempted to make a response with the final 20 minutes of the game. Ibrahim Sangare had a shot from the edge of the box fly inches over while substitute Max Gradel saw his well weighted freekick tipped over the bar.

Zambia managed to hold on to the score and a clean sheet, announcing their qualification in style.

Meanwhile in the other Group H match played in Johannesburg, Youssouf M'Changama scored a 90th minute goal as Comoros beat Lesotho 1-0 to cement their hold on third spot with six points, though both sides are out of contention for a place in the tournament after Zambia’s win.

Lesotho will finish bottom as they have just one single point following their fourth defeat in the group.

Central Africa Republic 1-2 Angola

Elsewhere in Douala, Felicio Mendes ‘Milson’ Joao scored four minutes from time, as Angola edged out the Central Africa Republic 2-1 to keep their hopes of qualification alive. The goal saw Angola move second in Group E with eight points, one ahead of CAR.

Both sides were in a must win situation, but it was CAR who had their hearts broken at home in their quest for a first ever qualification to the tournament.

They had to come from a goal down, their superstar skipper Geoffrey Kondogbia equalizing in the second half after Gaspar Kialonga had given Angola an early lead. They also had to finish the match with 10 men after goalkeeper Dominique Junior Youfeigane was sent off in the 70th minute.

Kialonga had given Angola a 12th minute lead, but Kondogbia drew his side level just a minute after the restart, finishing off a pass from Karl Namnganda who had just come on. But, they were heartbroken in the 86th minute when Milson scored from a corner, with substitute goalkeeper Alladoum Kolimba misjudging his flight.

Heading into the final round of matches in September, Angola have fate in their hands and only need to win against bottom side Madagascar to qualify, while the CAR must beat Ghana and hope the Angolans lose.