Four sides progress to group phase of TotalEnergies AFCON 2023 qualifiers

Sera Motebang of Lesotho during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier match between Lesotho and Seychelles at Dobsonville Stadium, Johannesburg on 27 March 2022

South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, eSwatini and Lesotho have earned themselves berths in the group phase of the qualifiers for the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after winning their preliminary round second leg matches on Sunday.

The results from the second leg now mean all but one of the five available group stage slots have been filled. Gambia play with Chad in the last preliminary qualification round match on Tuesday.

Sao Tome Team Picture during the 2021 Africa Cup Nations qualifer football match between Ghana and Sao Tome in Accra, Ghana on 28 March 2021

Mauritius 3-3 Sao Tome and Principe

Sao Tome managed to squeeze through thanks to their 1-0 victory at home last weekend, after a high scoring draw in the return tie.

Mauritius needed a win of more than two goals to progress to the next round, but Sao Tome, who are eying a first ever qualification to the Cup of Nations, managed to see off the result.

Ashley Nazira grabbed a late draw for the islanders, but it did little to affect the end result, with Sao Tome progressing.

Kevin Bru’s 21st minute penalty had given the home side a crucial lead, but they found themselves trailing 2-1 at halftime.

Ricardo Cardoso and veteran forward Luis Leal scored within seven minutes to put Sao Tome firmly back into it.

In the second half though, Mauritius fought and scored an equalizer in the 57th minute through Dylan Collard but just three minutes later, Cardoso completed his brace putting Sao Tome back ahead.

The home side could however not put the fight to bed and their only success was a late equalizer, that wasn’t enough for a ticket.

South Sudan team picture during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier between South Sudan and Malawi at Al-Hilal Stadium,Omdurman,South Sudan,on 24 March 2021 (2)

South Sudan 1-0 Djibouti

South Sudan also progressed to the group stages after edging out Djibouti by a solitary goal at the St. Mary’s Stadium in Kampala.

Peter Chol struck the lone goal 10 minutes after the break to hand the Bright Stars a ticket to the group phase with a 5-2 aggregate result, having won the first leg 4-2 at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt, last week.

Meanwhile, eSwatini progressed after beating Somalia 2-1 in the return leg, going through 5-1 on aggregate after winning the first leg in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 3-0.

Lesotho also went through with a 3-1 score-line against Seychelles, ensuring they saw the tie to the end at home, having drawn 0-0 in the first leg. Katleho Makateng struck a brace with Sera Motebang adding a third. Seychelles’ consolation was from the penalty spot.