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AFCON Qualifying Recap Matchday 3: Groups A-F

It was an exciting return to competitive action for CAF’s national teams as qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations resumed. There were some thrilling matches and plenty of outstanding goals for the highlight reel. Here is part one of Pan-Africa Football’s comprehensive recap of the third matchday.

Group A

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Matchday 3 Results

Guinea 1-0 Chad  (Highlights)
Mali 1-0 Namibia  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

Chad v Guinea on 15 November
Namibia v Mali on 17 November

Player of the Round

Mady Camara- Guinea (Olympiakos FC [GRE])

Observations

Group A is going more-or-less as predicted, with the talented Francophone West African nations Mali and Guinea taking control of the group. If both can go on the road and win in their return fixtures, then they will have their tickets to AFCON 2021 clinched. Namibia showed fight and were able to generate some chances on the road. Their talented South African-based attackers, Leon Hotto and Peter Shalulile, ensure that they will pose a threat at home to Mali. Chad will need to win at home against Guinea in order to have any hopes of qualifying.

Group B

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Matchday 3 Results

Uganda 1-0 South Sudan  (Highlights)
Burkina Faso 3-1 Malawi  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

South Sudan v Uganda on 17 November
Malawi v Burkina Faso on 17 November

Player of the Round

Lassina Traoré- Burkina Faso (Ajax [NED])

Observations

Burkina Faso continues to impress with many of their players in excellent form at their clubs as well as with Les Étalons. Lassina Traoré is one of the most in-form players in all of the world, and was only denied a hat-trick against Malawi by missing a penalty kick. Malawi continues to lack credibility in the attack, and missing star attacker Frank “Gabadinho” Mhango has only made the Flames more toothless. Their backs will be against the wall when facing Burkina Faso at home. The Cranes of Uganda got an ideal result considering this was their first match in all of 2020. They and Burkina Faso will clinch qualification with victories on the road.

Group C

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Matchday 3 Results

Ghana 2-0 Sudan  (Highlights)
South Africa 2-0 São Tomé & Príncipe  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

São Tomé and Príncipe v South Africa on 16 November
Sudan v Ghana on 17 November

Player of the Round

André Ayew- Ghana (Swansea City [ENG])

Observations

André Ayew has always been capable of match-winning performances with the Black Stars, and “Dede” made it happen again with two goals off his brilliant left foot against Sudan. The 30-year-old helped Ghana remain perfect in Group C despite the absence of Thomas Partey, and the Black Stars will look to clinch qualification with a victory in Sudan. South Africa didn’t dominate minnows São Tomé and Príncipe like the fanbase desired, but a relatively comfortable 2-0 win will temporarily keep the pressure off coach Molefi Ntseki. Sudan is certainly not out of the running for qualification, but will have a tough task getting a result at home against Ghana.

Group D

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Matchday 3 Results

Gabon 2-1 Gambia  (Highlights)
DR Congo 0-0 Angola  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

Gambia v Gabon on 17 November
Angola v DR Congo on 17 November

Player of the Round

Denis Bouanga (St. Étienne [FRA]) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal [ENG])- Gabon

Observations

Gabon’s playmakers, Denis Bouanga and superstar Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, propelled Les Panthères into control of Group D with their goals against Gambia. However, with the talent level on each team, this group is still wide open. Gambia have been the surprise package and didn’t succumb easily to Gabon. Experienced coach Tom Saintfiet has The Scorpions playing their best football, suggesting Gambia could be formidable in the return fixture. Democratic Republic of the Congo have been quite disappointing, lacking their usual attacking flair, and played to a limp scoreless draw with equally underwhelming Angola. There is still time for both to get it going, and they will hope to gain positive momentum in the return at Angola at the others’ expense.

Group E

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Matchday 3 Results

Mauritania 1-1 Burundi  (Highlights)
Morocco 4-1 Central African Republic  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

Burundi v Mauritania on 15 November
Central African Republic v Morocco on 17 November

Player of the Round

Hakim Ziyech- Morocco (Chelsea [ENG])

Observations

Hakim Ziyech successfully replicated his form at Chelsea in Morocco’s colors on Friday so the Atlas Lions could gain a tight grip on first place. Ziyech and Morocco will hope to have qualification wrapped up with another win against Central African Republic. The Mauritania-Burundi match was notable for featuring a large crowd and raucous atmosphere. However, Burundi snatched a well-deserved point thanks to a splendid Saidi Ntibazonkiza free kick. A win at home in the return against Mauritania would jumpstart Intamba right back into the qualification picture.

Group F

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Matchday 3 Results

Cape Verde 0-0 Rwanda  (Highlights)
Cameroon 4-1 Mozambique  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

Rwanda v Cape Verde on 17 November
Mozambique v Cameroon on 17 November

Player of the Round

Vincent Aboubakar- Cameroon (Besiktas [TUR])

Observations

Powerhouse forward Vincent Aboubakar showed the physicality and opportunism in Cameroon’s 4-1 win over Mozambique that won the Indomitable Lions the 2017 AFCON title. Cameroon was ruthless and asserted the superiority of their talent, and will bring that confidence into their second matchup with the Mambas. Cape Verde have not shown the form that has made them participants in past AFCON tournament, and will need to find a way to get the goals flowing. Goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera saved the Amavubi of Rwanda with a Man of the Match performance, but Rwandan fans will be expecting the team to get their first goals and win at home in a critical return fixture.

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