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2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying preview: September 7

Qualifying for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations finishes up this week with some teams already confirmed to qualify while several spots are still up for grabs at the finals in Ivory Coast. Thursday will feature several crucial matches in Groups E and F which both have yet to determine who will take part at the finals. Read more below on the current situation in both groups and the important matches that will take place.

Group E

Ghana v Central African Republic (Kick off in Kumasi at 16:00 UTC)

Click here to see the Ghana Squad 

Click here to see the Central African Republic squad

Ghana does not a need a victory at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations but the Black Stars supporters are expecting a stress-free experience on Thursday. The performances have not been convincing under head coach Chris Hughton, particularly in the attack. A draw or victory will progress the Black Stars to the finals in Ivory Coast but the expectation is a comfortable win by multiple goals.

However this Central African Republic team is building a reputation under coach Raoul Savoy as a team that tends to surprise and relishes their role as underdogs. Despite lacking the ability to host their home fixtures in Group E, Les Fauves are still in contention and a victory will see them leap past Ghana into qualification. Ghanaian supporters will be relieved that Central African Republic star midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia is not with the team but Savoy is still plotting a shock result like his team accomplished in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying when Les Fauves defeated Nigeria 1-0 in Lagos.

Angola v Madagascar (Kick off in Lubango at 16:00 UTC)

Click here to see the Angola Squad 

Click here to see the Madagascar squad

Like Ghana, a victory or draw will progress Angola to the finals of the 2023 AFCON and the Palancas Negras are expected to achieve the task on Thursday. Angola have not lost an Africa Cup of Nations or FIFA World Cup qualification match at home in two years while Madagascar have not won a qualifying match away from home in nearly three years.

Madagascar will not be taking the match lightly despite being eliminated from contention to qualify. Foreign based players like Loïc Lapoussin, Rayan Raveloson and Marco Ilaimaharitra are in the squad as the Barea attempt to end a woeful AFCON qualifying campaign on a positive note. Despite only achieving two draws and three defeats from five matches this Madagascar team is capable of surprising.

Group F

Algeria v Tanzania (Kick off in Annaba at 19:00 UTC)

Click here to see the Algeria Squad 

Click here to see the Tanzania squad

The only objective for Algeria, already qualified for the finals in Ivory Coast, is to achieve a perfect record in a weak Group F. Les Verts brought in star players like Riyad Mahrez and Ramy Bensebaini to finish the job and it is difficult to see Tanzania escaping Annaba with a positive result. The only issue for Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi is continuing his evaluation of the goalkeeper position where Moustapha Zeghba and Anthony Mandrea continue to compete.

A draw will be enough for Tanzania to qualify but it is a giant task for the Taifa Stars who will likely have one eye on updates from the other Group F match featuring Uganda against Niger. Mbwana Samatta and Simon Msuva will be the key attackers to watch and new Shakhtar Donetsk signing Novatus Miroshi is a young creative force who will need to be at his best on Thursday.

Niger v Uganda (Kick off in Marrakech, Morocco 19:00 UTC)

Click here to see the Niger squad

Click here to see the Uganda squad 

Niger have little to play for due to being eliminated from contention to qualify but the Ménas are always a dangerous team who can spoil the ambitions of their opponents. The team will be without all-time leading scorer Victorien Adebayor after the player failed to respond to being called for both his national team for South African club AmaZulu who reportedly signed him for the current season. Niger will host Thursday’s match in Morocco.

For Uganda it is a massive game on Thursday with the Cranes needing nothing less than a victory for both themselves and Algeria against Tanzania to qualify. To achieve this Uganda will need to find a goal which is a task that continues to be quite difficult. The Cranes attack has scored only three goals in their five matches and have not scored two or more goals in an AFCON or World Cup qualifying match since November 2019 against Malawi. Fahad Bayo, one of the scorers in the match against Malawi, will attempt to find the net along with rising talent Rogers Mato.

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