It was a tense final day in Group F from 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying but Tanzanian supporters are celebrating a third qualification to Africa’s top national team competition after holding group winners Algeria to a 0-0 draw in Annaba on Thursday. The Taifa Stars held on for a crucial point that saw them finish second in the group just a point ahead of neighbors Uganda. The Cranes did their part with a 2-0 victory over Niger in Marrakech, Morocco but came just short of qualification.
With a perfect qualifying record that saw them clinch their spot at the finals in Ivory Coast with multiple games to spare, Algeria put out a team composed of fringe players and younger prospects which played to Tanzania’s advantage.
A disjointed Algerian attack struggled to overcome an organized Taifa Stars side even after star attackers Riyad Mahrez and Saïd Benrahma were introduced as substitutions in the second half. Tanzania surprisingly had little trouble obtaining the result they needed and were left celebrating when the full time whistle arrived to mark their first AFCON qualification since 2019 and only their second qualification since their debut appearance in 1980.
It was heartbreak for Ugandan supporters whose team finally found a period of success on the attacking end against Niger. Aziz Kayondo opened the scoring for the Cranes inside the opening twenty minutes and Joseph Ochaya doubled Uganda’s lead close to halftime. Hosts Niger, already eliminated from contention to qualify, put up little resistance but in the end Uganda did not get the victory they needed Algeria to achieve against Tanzania.
Earlier in the day, Group E concluded with Ghana and Angola qualifying while Tunisia finished as group winners in Group J with a 3-0 victory over Botswana. Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea are the teams who qualified out of Group J with Botswana and Libya already eliminated from contention before the final match day.
Highlights from all three later matches on Thursday are below.